November 19, 2011 is not a date that instantly juts out as being historic. But one could make the argument that it was the most exciting day in mixed martial arts history. If you quiz 100 random fans of MMA and ask them what was the greatest fight in MMA history, many of them will point to Dan Henderson against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, which took place on November 19, 2011. However, while that fight overwhelmingly was considered fight of the year (and it was an incredibly battle), I contend that the fight of the year for 2011 was actually the four-round, back-and-forth, fast-paced, non-stop action packed battle between then Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler. And that just happened to take place on the exact same day: November 19, 2011.
Now, the most exciting fight in Bellator’s history has a second chapter as Eddie Alvarez takes on Michael Chandler. Chandler is now the champ and has been on a dominant run with a 12-0 record and defended his Bellator belt three times. Alvarez is desperately seeking revenge and at the November 2 fight at Bellator 106.
This card is Bellator’s first foray into the pay per view market. It was announced that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz are to headline this card, and initially the mainstream MMA media and fan base were a bit luke warm to harsh about the idea of a pay per view solely based around this main event. Ortiz and Rampage are great fighters, but the card definitely needed another solid fight to be added to the card if they are to seriously try and get fans to pay money to watch on pay per view. Kudos to Bellator for adding the absolute best fight that they could with the Chandler/Alvarez rematch.
This fight could go either way, but one thing that is definitely different this time around is lack of the element of surprise for Alvarez. Chandler was a quality fighter going into his fight with Alvarez the first time, but he definitely surprised a lot of people by showing how much skill and will he had in that bout. Chandler came after Alvarez early in fight, then faced adversity in a harsh way in the third round, but will came back to earn a stoppage in the fourth round. Now Alvarez is prepared for the kind of opponent and game that Chandler brings to the cage and has a better understanding of what he’s up against. Chandler himself is a highly motivated individual and is looking to prove that he is the best fighter in Bellator by pulling off a second win against Alvarez. These two are fighters that I think could hang with top-five contenders in the UFC at 155, and would love to see them test their skills against the elite in the Ultimate Fighting Championship one day. But that won’t happen any time soon. However, I am definitely excited to see Bellator reach an agreement with Alvarez and put together this long-awaited rematch with Chandler, and add a stellar fight to their first pay per view card in November.