Bellator 106: Matches to Make for the Entire Main Card
Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez didn't disappoint at Bellator MMA 106.
Again, the lightweight stars put together a fight to remember on Saturday night. For five rounds, Chandler and Alvarez went back and forth on their feet and on the ground.
Ultimately, Alvarez earned the split-decision win, recapturing the Bellator MMA lightweight title in the process. Having split their first two fights, a rubber match between Chandler and Alvarez should be coming up soon.
As for the remainder of the Bellator MMA 106 competitors, here are the matchups that are most likely to happen going forward.
Mike Bronzoulis vs. Alejandro Garcia
Mike Bronzoulis may have missed out on a Bellator MMA tournament spot with his loss to Joe Riggs on Saturday, but he hasn't fought his last fight with the promotion.
Bellator MMA put too much effort into Fight Master to part ways with all the show's competitors except Riggs. The company will give Bronzoulis a few fights with the hope that his appearance on the reality series will draw some extra interest to the cards.
A winnable bout with Alejandro Garcia, who also competed at Bellator 106, seems possible for Bronzoulis.
Joe Riggs vs. War Machine
With his victory over Mike Bronzoulis at Bellator 106, Joe Riggs earned a spot in the upcoming welterweight tournament.
Undoubtedly, Bellator MMA will be looking to set him up with a favorable matchup, as he'll be one of the bigger draws in the next 170-pound tourney. At the same time, he needs a noteworthy opponent whom fans will want to see him face.
A bout with the outspoken War Machine would be an easy sell. It's also a fight with a fellow grappler that Riggs is more than capable of winning.
Pat Curran vs. Mike Richman
With an impressive knockout win on a big fight card, Mike Richman may have earned a spot in the next Bellator featherweight tournament. He also likely bounced opponent Akop Stepanyan from the roster, as the Russian has now lost four of his five fights with the promotion.
Still not a big name in the sport, Richman won't be given a favorable matchup in the opening round. Instead, he may have to serve as a sacrificial lamb on Pat Curran's path back to another shot at the 145-pound championship.
Curran lost his belt to Daniel Straus on Saturday and will have to return to the tournament field to regain it. A potential boxing match with Richman is more likely to get MMA fans to tune into Curran's next appearance than a free pass against a first-time tournament competitor.
Daniel Straus vs. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev
With a sixth straight win, Daniel Straus scored an upset against Pat Curran to become Bellator MMA featherweight champion.
Having picked up 14 of his 22 wins via decision, Straus may be a less marketable champion than Curran. Nonetheless, he now holds the belt and won't have to worry about Curran again until the 26-year-old works his way through another 145-pound tournament.
In the meantime, Straus will defend his strap against the most recent featherweight tournament winner, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev.
Muhammed Lawal vs. Quinton Jackson
Only in Bellator MMA does a fight with Quinton Jackson make sense for Lawal after a disappointing showing against Emanuel Newton. Then again, "Rampage" could look awful against Joey Beltran in his Bellator MMA debut, which would make a matchup with "King Mo" logical in any organization.
Lawal was supposed to avenge his loss to Newton on Saturday. Instead, King Mo appeared to gas early and showed little urgency in a fight for the interim light heavyweight championship. On all three scorecards, Lawal only won a single round.
With Tito Ortiz's timetable for return unknown, Jackson and Lawal are the biggest crossover stars in Bellator MMA. Jackson doesn't appear overly interested in Bellator MMA's tournament format, so a bout with Lawal would make the best use of the former UFC champion, following his fight with Beltran.
Emanuel Newton vs. Attila Vegh
Emanuel Newton's knockout win over Muhammed Lawal at Bellator MMA 90 was no fluke after all.
At Bellator 106, Newton proved that he's simply a better fighter than King Mo right now. Some of that may have to do with Lawal's overconfidence, but all Newton can do is beat the King Mo who shows up in front of him, and he has done it twice now.
In doing so, he became the interim light heavyweight champion and earned a rematch with fellow titleholder Attila Vegh. Vegh defeated Newton in a split decision during the semifinals of a previous Bellator MMA light heavyweight tournament.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler
Even with Quinton Jackson now under the promotion's banner, this is the biggest fight Bellator MMA can put together.
Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler put together another classic at Bellator 106. In the end, Alvarez squeaked by with a controversial split-decision win, but the result was far from a robbery. Alvarez busted Chandler up, leaving his left eye bloodied and swollen shut.
This is why Bellator MMA instituted a championship rematch clause. Now, Chandler doesn't have to return to a tournament to earn his way back to a rubber match with Alvarez.
The best two lightweights outside of the UFC can do it again in a few months.