Eddie Alvarez (purple gloves) and Michael Chandler trade blows on Saturday. (USA As we speak)
LENGTHY BEACH, Calif. – Whoever got here up with the notion that a sequel can’t be better than the original wants to watch the Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez rematch.
On Nov. 19, 2011, Chandler and Alvarez placed on what was thought-about the greatest combat within the five-12 months historical past of the Bellator promotion and one of many greatest MMA fights, interval. Chandler punctuated four rounds of again-and-forth action by submitting Alvarez with a choke and taking his Bellator lightweight title.
Saturday night time, although, the duo simply might need outdone themselves. Beneath the backdrop of a protracted legal struggle between Alvarez and the promotion, and coming on the finish of what had been a lackluster battle card, Chandler and Alvarez added their names to a prolonged record of contenders for 2013’s Struggle of the Year.
After 25 minutes of again-and-forth action at Lengthy Seaside Arena, Alvarez gained a call which may have gone both method. All three judges scored the fight 48-47; two of them leaned Alvarez’s way, because the Philadelphia native took again the belt he misplaced two years in the past whereas handing Chandler his first profession loss.
Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler land awkwardly during their struggle. (USA In the present day)
“Whether it is blended martial arts or boxing, sometimes guys just gel stylistically,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney mentioned. “You watch the struggle, and you’ll’t consider these guys did that again. Ali-Frazier. Gatti-Ward. We’ve had a couple of of them in MMA. These two guys just match like a glove once they battle each other.”
CompuStrike’s official numbers bear out the combat’s razor-skinny margin: Alvarez landed a hundred and fifteen strikes to Chandler’s 111. Both fighters attempted two submissions. Chandler had 10 takedowns to Alvarez’s zero, however Alvarez additionally stuffed 11 more takedown attempts.
All three judges scored the primary spherical for Chandler, who managed it with his wrestling. All three had round two for Alvarez, who wobbled Chandler late. Two of three had round three for a hard-charging Alvarez. All three had round four for Chandler, who almost completed the struggle with a ruthless ground-and-pound assault. And all three scored a again-and-forth closing spherical for Alvarez, who got here in robust over the ultimate ninety seconds.
This was the type of battle that necessitated doctor’s attention. Chandler wasn’t on the submit-struggle news convention. This was announced as being attributable to a trip to the hospital, though Chandler’s coach, Eric Del Fierro of San Diego’s Alliance MMA, later tweeted that Chandler (12-1) had simply been stitched up by the commission physician at the enviornment and went back to his resort room.
Alvarez, in the meantime, mustered an appearance at the information conference earlier than making a hospital go to. Walking slowly and with a face that looked like he stepped in the path of a David Ortiz house-run swing, Alvarez deflected any reward that got here his means.
“I will take zero credit for what happened tonight,” Alvarez mentioned. “It takes two people to put on a struggle like that. Not just me. Me and Mike Chandler. The guy fights his ass off. The center of a lion. On the finish of the fight, I didn’t give a [expletive] who won. I was simply completely satisfied to be a part of it.”
Alvarez (25-three) left the information conference after making these remarks, but actually, he made his statement in the cage. This fight was his vindication after a protracted authorized battle with Bellator turned ugly in public. Alvarez acquired a lucrative offer from the UFC which might have included pay-per-view points. Bellator used its matching rights clause in his previous contract to match retain his services. With a court battle that looked to tug out interminably, Alvarez threw in the towel and re-signed with Bellator.
Michael Chandler punches Eddie Alvarez throughout their combat. (USA At this time)
Not that Alvarez will likely be going poor any time quickly, mind you: In keeping with the California State Athletic Fee’s disclosed paydays, Alvarez is taking house $160,000 for his evening’s work, with an $80,000 win bonus doubling his pay.
Still, if Saturday night was some grand design by Rebney to defeat Alvarez once more and kill off his drawing power, he was putting on a pretty stable poker face.
“That’s why we fought so onerous to enforce the contract,” Rebney stated. “I thought Ed was a wickedly proficient lightweight and could beat anyone on earth. I needed to see him stay on this group. That’s what I negotiated for up top. I think Ed’s an unimaginable talent.”
It’s hard to argue in opposition to that time after Saturday. The fight was so good, it eliminated the stench of what had appeared a misbegotten occasion. Initially slated for pay-per-view, it was moved to Spike TELEVISION after the planned main event, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz, fell out as a result of an Ortiz neck injury. Previous to Chandler-Alvarez, a string of boring fights had killed the atmosphere within the constructing.
Instead, Rebney left Long Seaside Enviornment with the excitement of a traditional combat, one which all but demands a trilogy combat.
“For those who asked me two hours ago whether or not I know all’s properly would end nicely, I wouldn’t have been so assured,” Rebney stated. “However, all’s well that ends properly. I’m leaving here with a smile.”
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