The rematch between Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler and former titleholder Eddie Alvarez has been two years in the making. After a bitter contractual dispute with the organization, Alvarez returned to action for the first time in a year on Saturday at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif., hoping to win back the title Chandler took from him in November of 2011.
They met in the center of the cage and immediately got to work at the sound of the opening bell. Chandler pressed forward as Alvarez worked on the outside. Chandler was the aggressor in the round. He caught a kick from Alvarez and slammed him to the canvas in the closing moments, likely taking the round. He took Alvarez’s back and looked for a rear naked choke, but Alvarez defended the submission attempt.
Chandler continued to press the action in the second frame, while Alvarez circled and counter punched. Chandler closed the distance and slammed Alvarez to the canvas. Alvarez bounced back to his feet only to be taken down again. He stood and was slammed again. Alvarez worked his way back to his feet and delivers a combination, opening up a cut under the champion’s left eye. Chandler secured a late takedown to close out the round.
Alvarez had found his range in the third round. He defended Chandler’s takedown attempts and the complexion of the fight began to change. Chandler was able to get Alvarez down late in the round, but Alvarez did more damage.
The ringside doctor checked the cut under Chandler’s eye between rounds and he was deemed able to continue. He came out in the fourth round with a sense of urgency. He leaped in, landing a flying knee. He grounded the challenger and landed a right hand and several elbows, logging the most dominant round of the fight.
Alvarez’s corner told him that he needed to finish Chandler to get the win, and Alvarez listened. He pressed the action, but Chandler landed a lead uppercut and took Alvarez down. He took Alvarez’s back, but Alvarez scrambled to his feet. Alvarez secured a takedown and took Chandler’s back, working for a rear naked choke. Chandler defended, spun and gained top control. Alvarez stood, but was slammed back to the canvas in the closing seconds.
“It takes two people to put a fight on like that,” said Alvarez after regaining the Bellator lightweight title via a split decision by the judges. “This is my teammates, my coaches, my wife, my kids, a whole lot of sacrifice. I had a feeling in my gut that I was going to be the new lightweight champion.
“Thank you everyone who supported me through this.”
Bellator 106 Official Results:
Main Card Results:
-Eddie Alvarez def. Michael Chandler by split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
-Emanuel Newton def. Muhammed Lawal by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
-Daniel Straus def. Pat Curran by unanimous decision (49-45, 48-46, 48-46)
-Joe Riggs def. Mike Bronzoulis by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-Mike Richman def. Akop Stepanyan by TKO at 4:05, R1
Preliminary Card Results:
-Jesse Juarez def. Joe Williams by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:57, R1
-Cristiano Souza def. Alejandro Garcia by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:06, R3
-Brandon Halsey def. Hector Ramirez by TKO at 0:52, R1
-Mike Guymon def. Aaron Miller by submission (triangle choke) at 4:20, R2
-Cleber Luciano def. Joe Camacho by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-Josh Smith def. Darren Smith by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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