It’s been nearly a year since he last fought, but Eddie Alvarez is once again under contract with Bellator MMA. He’ll make his next start for the promotion in a rematch with lightweight champion Michael Chandler on the Rampage vs. Tito pay-per-view on Nov. 2 in Long Beach, Calif.
Bellator officials announced the fight on Tuesday.
Chandler and Alvarez last fought at Bellator 58 on Nov. 19, 2011. Their positions were juxtaposed at the time with Alvarez stepping into the bout as Bellator lightweight champion.
It was a back-and-forth battle that went deep into the fourth round. There were several near finishes by both men throughout the fight, but it was Chandler that dropped Alvarez and finished him with a rear naked choke in round four.
That original bout was widely considered the fight of the year in 2011. Bellator president Bjorn Rebney would take it a step further.
“I’ve been cageside for more live fights than almost anyone on the planet,” said Rebney. “Without question, Chandler vs. Alvarez was the best MMA fight I’ve ever seen.
“I’m excited to be able to deliver this rematch to MMA fans. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve had to jump over a lot of hurdles to get this done, but from the day we announced our PPV, I promised fans that this card was going to be the deepest we’ve ever done, and we are well on our way. This is just the start.”
Chandler has won three consecutive bouts since upsetting Alvarez in 2011. His most recent fight was a 44-second knockout of David Rickels at Bellator 97 on July 31.
“Without sounding too disrespectful, when I fought Eddie the first time in 2011, I didn’t even know what it meant to be an MMA fighter,” Chandler said. “Two years later, I’ve grown so much as a mixed martial artist, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind on Nov. 2, my hand will be raised and the belt will be around my waist.”
Alvarez has won both of his post-Chandler bouts by knockout, defeating Shinya Aoki and Patricky Freire.
Following the Freire knockout, however, Alvarez was mired in an ugly contract negotiation that pitted Bellator against the UFC. Had he not come to terms with Bellator, Alvarez was staring another year or two on the sidelines before the legal wrangling would have weaved its way through the judicial system.
He instead made the move to resign with Bellator to try and avenge the loss that still haunts him.
“I still lose sleep over my loss to Chandler, and I want it off my record,” Alvarez remarked. “This was a long process, but at the end of the day I’m back with Bellator and I’m happy to get back in the cage. I really believe everything happens for a reason, and at the end of the day my family and I are happy, and I’m ready to get my belt back on Nov. 2.”
Rebney has stated that there will be several Bellator title bouts on the Rampage vs. Tito fight card – the promotion’s first foray into the pay-per-view realm – but has yet to reveal any of the other fights.