Super Fights were the big fad in the early days of mixed martial arts. In a sport that was still trying to find solid footing, superstar fighters were few and far between.
It wasn't until UFC 5 that America got its first Super Fight in the sport: 36 consecutive minutes of grueling grappling action between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock, which ended in a draw.
Super Fights continued to take place for a short period afterward. With the introduction of weight classes—and with the number of rising stars waiting in the wings—Super Fights were soon all but forgotten.
Bellator Fighting Championships recently announced that its lightweight champion, the consensus No. 3-ranked Eddie Alvarez, will be taking on UFC castaway Josh Neer.
Besides the fact that Alvarez is a few steps above the talents of the brash Neer, another stagnant bit of information on this fight is the "Super Fight" label it has received.
While the two young lightweights may be the premier talent of Bellator's lightweight division, a Super Fight title is hardly justifiable.
Alvarez stormed onto the MMA scene as an unknown in 2008 with excitingly conclusive victories over Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri in Dream's lightweight Grand Prix.
During that timespan, Neer got a step up in UFC competition in hopes of breaking into the top 10. However, he didn't fare so well against the higher caliber of opponents placed in front of him.
While Alvarez's only loss in the last two years came to No. 2-ranked lightweight Shinya Aoki, Neer went on to lose three of his last four UFC bouts to Gleison Tibau, Kurt Pellegrino, and Nate Diaz.
So why has this fight been dubbed as a Super Fight?
On one hand, you have a champion who has been steamrolling through his competition. His only losses have come to a grappling wizard and a man that goes by "The Goat" in a fight contested outside of his natural weight class.
On the other hand, you have a journeyman who has lost his momentum since losing three of his last six. Losing to unranked fighters essentially smashed the hype he received after defeating Joe Stevenson in 2006.
Surely, Bellator is trying to hype this fight to generate the buzz it wouldn't otherwise receive—but still, calling it a Super Fight?
Super Fights are a dime a dozen nowadays—especially across the larger promotions. If you were to compare Alvarez-Neer with other Super Fights taking place across the world, Bellator's first Super Fight wouldn't seem all that super.
That's the whole point of this—the abundance of Super Fights these days. Fans see them almost monthly these days.
While Alvarez and Neer could offer up a great fight, it's going to have a hard time comparing with other Super Fights in the month of May—such as the Lyoto Machida-Mauricio Rua rematch and the grudge fight between Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson.
A small piece of advice for Bellator: Just drop the Super Fight title; the label is hardly relevant.
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