by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Challenge issued, challenge accepted.
Since Gilbert Melendez trumped Shinya Aoki on CBS a few weeks back, the Strikeforce lightweight champion has been vocal about how he’d like to fight Bellator Fighting Championships 155lb champion Eddie Alvarez.
Now Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has listened and opened the door to Strikeforce president Scott Coker to see if they co-promote and make the fight happen.
“As an MMA fan, first and foremost, Alvarez versus Melendez is an awesome fight at 155 that deserves to be seen and needs to be made,” Rebney said. “Gilbert has the heart of a warrior, just like our champion Eddie. I will do everything I can to get Gilbert what he asked for. Gilbert wants the fight, Eddie wants the fight and I want the fight. All we have to do is get Scott Coker on board and together we can make this happen. Eddie wants to fight the best and Gilbert wants to fight the best and there is no reason why any promoter or network should stand in the way of that.”
When speaking with MMAWeekly Radio after his fight with Aoki in April, Melendez said that Alvarez would be a great match-up to have, and hopefully the organizations could work together to make it happen. He also believes that to get to the top you have to beat the best, and that’s where he ranks Alvarez.
“I want to make a statement, I want to be No. 1,” said Melendez. “I’m back on track, and I’m almost there, I want to prove it. I’d love to fight someone like Eddie Alvarez. Eddie Alvarez is a guy I’d really like to fight.”
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, fresh off of a submission win over Josh Neer just last week, says he’s more than happy to accept the challenge and hopes the fight happens as well.
“Gilbert is a great fighter who’s got a lot of momentum going right now,” Alvarez said. “This is the match-up that all the fans want to see and it’d be a shame if it didn’t happen. I want to do it, Bjorn wants to do it and it sounds like Gilbert wants to do it. If I could sum up my thoughts in four words, it’d be: ‘Let’s make it happen.”
No doubt that Strikeforce president Scott Coker will be broached about the subject at the post fight press conference following tonight’s event in St. Louis. Strikeforce has done co-promoted shows in the past with organizations like M-1 and Elite XC, but to date they have not worked with Bellator. A superfight between Melendez and Alvarez could be just the ticket to make it happen.