Who says rematches between two elite-level competitors can't live up to the original meeting inside the cage?
Last night, Eddie Alvarez, after a 13-month layoff due to a contract dispute, recaptured the Bellator lightweight title in a 25-minute tooth-and-nail battle with Michael Chandler.
While not everyone was happy with "The Silent Assassin" getting the nod via a split decision, it's impossible to deny that both men gave it their all in this one, having left the cage bloody, bruised and exhausted.
After the fight ended and the new champ got some stitches at the hospital, Alvarez tweeted that he was "all better," though his left eye seems to tell a different story:
All better happy Halloween!! pic.twitter.com/yPY0qBr4qJ
— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) November 3, 2013
Since getting submitted by Chandler at Bellator 58 in November 2011, the fighter from the Blackzilian camp in Boca Raton, Fla., has now won three fights in a row against the best Bellator has (or had) to offer in Shinya Aoki, Patricky Freire and now, of course, Chandler.
Despite being halted from going to the UFC earlier this year, Alvarez was a gentleman during his post-fight conversation with color commentator Jimmy Smith, though Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney couldn't help but express his displeasure, per Bloody Elbow.
On the other hand, Chandler, an All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, tasted defeat for the first time in 13 professional fights.
At the Bellator 106 post-fight press conference, Rebney indicated that he was more than likely saving Alvarez vs. Chandler III for Bellator's first pay-per-view event, according to Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie.
Bellator 106 was originally supposed to have that distinction, but the bout was moved to Spike TV when a fractured neck prevented Tito Ortiz from fighting Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the evening's main event, as reported by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting.
Rebney would not answer whether or not Chandler would have to win a tournament to get another crack at Alvarez, but one would assume that will not be the case since Alvarez did not need to win a tournament before their second matchup.
Rumor has it that Alvarez will hit the free-agent market after he completes his trilogy with Chandler, but Bellator has refused to confirm or deny if that's the case as of this writing.