You probably didn’t even know there was a Bellator fight card tonight with all the hype surrounding the Mayweather/ Cotto weigh ins and the UFC on FOX 3 weigh ins but Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler blasted through Japanese star Akihiro Gono in a non title fight. The fight lasted all of 56 seconds in the first round before the referee had to stop the fight. I thought the fight was a mistake to start with considering that Chandler had just squeaked by Eddie Alvarez in their first fight, the logical conclusion was to set up a rematch even if Bellator is founded on a tournament format. And in fact, Gono didn’t even participate in a lightweight tournament, he was given the fight after Bellator could not find a suitable fight for Chandler. My question is, why not Alvarez? Instead, Alvarez had to agree to fight Shinya Aoki who he destroyed. I can see how Alvarez would be okay with the Aoki fight since he got to avenge his loss from a few years ago. But now with one fight left on his contract, Bellator can make the right decision and set up a final fight for Alvarez and Chandler.
The only issue is if Bellator would be complacent if Alvarez beat Chandler in the rematch and left for the UFC. Losing a current champion to another fight promotion may be a bitter pill to swallow. Alvarez has already gone on record as saying money may be the biggest deal maker at this point since revealing his recent financial troubles. With former middleweight belt holder Hector Lombard already signed with the UFC, Alvarez may be a forgone conclusion to leave as well. But Bellator should understand that they could become a minor league of sorts for the UFC. They build up nice fighters and have them poached by the UFC. Bellator’s model is built on excitement from a tournament anyway, not on the actual fighters, so they should be okay with losing their bigger stars since they cannot pay them. At this point, we still don’t know what Bellator is planning. Perhaps they let Lombard go so that they can pull together enough money to make Alvarez an attractive offer to stay. Or maybe they don’t care, set up the rematch, and pin their hopes on their champ Chandler beating Alvarez and then send him packing to the UFC tainted with two losses. No one knows what will happen at this point, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Alvarez put on exciting fights and testing himself in the octagon where the best fighters are.