November 19, 2011
While UFC 139 was on a break in San Jose, Bellator put on a fight of the year candidate that ended with a new lightweight champ. Michael Chandler submitted Eddie Alvarez in the fourth round to take Bellator's lightweight belt.
Chandler started swinging from the first second of the fight, wobbling Alvarez against the fence in the first 30 seconds. Though Alvarez survived, Chandler took the first two rounds by landing combination after combination. The back-and-forth of the fight didn't slow in the first two rounds, but it was Chandler who had the clear advantage.
Alvarez, who is widely considered a top-three lightweight, recovered in the third round. He pinned Chandler against the fence with unanswered punches several times.
In the fourth round, Chandler took over. He knocked Alvarez to the ground, followed up with ground and pound, moved to full mount, then took Alvarez's back in a rear-naked choke. Alvarez tapped at 3:06 in the fourth.
Alvarez had been the only lightweight champion in Bellator history. His last loss was in a heel hook to Shinya Aoki in 2008, and had rattled off seven wins since that loss. Chandler, who wrestled at the University of Missouri, is relatively inexperienced. He is 9-0 to Alvarez's 22-3.
But now, Chandler has proved that he is a force to be reckoned with, and Bellator gave MMA fans a fight to remember.
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