Just hours after being granted his unconditional release from Bellator, former two-time lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has been signed by the UFC and already has his first fight in place. Alvarez, who is currently riding a three-fight win streak and nearly signed with the promotion back in 2012, will square off against Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC 178.
It’s a bout that had been recently rumoured but appeared to have been placed on the back-burner when “Cowboy” was paired off with Bobby Green. The organization has now opted to go with Cerrone-Alvarez on Sept. 27 while “King” will face an undetermined opponent at a card in November.
Alvarez has long been regarded as one of the world’s best lightweights and appeared in two of the greatest fights in Bellator history against Michael Chandler. After losing his title in an epic battle against Chandler at Bellator 58, Alvarez would later get his revenge at Bellator 106 in earning a split-decision nod to regain his belt. He had been out of action for over a year prior to the Chandler rematch because of a contractual squabble with Bellator after they blocked his move to the UFC. Alvarez is in the midst of a tremendous run as he has gone 10-1 in his last 11 fights and has produced eight finishes by knockout or submission.
The No. 4-ranked Cerrone has won his last four fights via knockout or submission and is gaining a legendary reputation for his willingness to face anyone at any time. He’s had a stellar year with three victories in 2014 and has pocketed three Fight Night bonuses. His most recent effort was a second-round TKO of Jim Miller at Fight Night 45. Cerrone’s tremendous striking skills and supreme confidence will make him a stern test for Alvarez in his Octagon debut. It’s a matchup that has explosive potential.
The UFC’s lightweight division is already one of the organization’s deepest weight classes. The addition of the talented and always entertaining Alvarez will only make it stronger and sets up a number of exciting future clashes.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports