Bellator 106: 3 Questions We Have About Eddie Alvarez

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

Besides Gilbert Melendez and Benson Henderson, Eddie Alvarez is the best lightweight in the world without a title.

Once upon a time, Alvarez held the Bellator lightweight championship, but an eager Michael Chandler took it from him roughly two years ago.

Since then, Alvarez has utilized his crisp boxing, excellent footwork and elite experience to capture back-to-back first-round finishes against two very respectable opponents, Shinya Aoki and Patricky Freire.

With that said, the 29-year-old is not complete without his belt.  He's hungry, determined and ready to reclaim what was once his.

Here are three questions the formidable veteran needs to answer to make this weekend's rematch with Chandler a vengeful success. 


Will the one-year layoff play a factor?

It doesn't matter if you're Jose Aldo or Roy Nelson, being absent from the cage for over a year never leads to something good.  Most of the time, it spells ring rust.

Alvarez, who is used to fighting two or three times a year, will have to shake off any cobwebs early in order to compete alongside the champion this Saturday.

With that said, Alvarez possesses the type of experience other fighters strive for.  If there is any fighter on the Bellator roster who can put an absence like this behind him and perform to his usual capabilities, it's the former champ.

Plus, he has something to prove after a lengthy contract dispute with Bellator's parent company, Viacom.


Can he withstand Chandler's initial burst?

In their first meeting, Chandler came out like a flying banshee.  He pressured the former champ inside and out, landing vicious shots that dropped Alvarez in the first few moments of the first round.

For Alvarez to stay coherent and calm in their rematch, he needs to withstand Chandler's initial burst. 

As a very athletic fighter with power in his hands and iron in his chin, Chandler doesn't shy away from early exchanges and really excels when he's moving forward and pushing the action.

Alvarez needs to utilize patient boxing and swift footwork to avoid any serious quarrels with the champion early in the fight.  If he can do that, Alvarez should be able to score points and tire the champ out.


Can he keep the fight standing?

In their first meeting, Chandler was able to take Alvarez down at will anytime he got his hands on him.  This time around, assuming Alvarez is able to game plan for Chandler's heavy hands, he's going to want to keep the fight standing.

That's much easier said than done against a wrestler of Chandler's caliber, but you have to remember that Alvarez is one of the division's most athletic guys in his own right.  He has the ability to slither away against the cage or in the clinch to avoid being taken down.

Also, if Alvarez is able to keep the fight on the feet, he has to understand that Chandler is at his best when he's moving forward.  That's where he did most of his damage in the first fight, and that's exactly how he'll try to pursue Alvarez in the rematch.

If the former champ can pressure Chandler right out of the gate, mix in body punches and kicks, and challenge his conditioning, then Alvarez might have a chance at stopping an undefeated force.

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