By: Mike Thorwart
On April 20th, 2012 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio at Bellator 66, one of the bigger lightweight rematches will happen.
Eddie Alvarez (22-3 MMA, 6-1 BFC) will get a chance to avenge his 2008 loss to Dream lightweight champion, Shinya Aoki (30-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Alvarez, who is coming off of his first since Aoki will look to bounce back into the top rankings of the world’s lightweights. In November of 2011, we saw an outstanding fight between then champion, Eddie Alvarez and tournament winner, Michael Chandler. At 3:06 into the 4th round Chandler submitted Alvarez with a rear naked choke to win the Bellator Lightweight Title. That was Alvarez’ first defeat in nearly three years time where we fought under the K-1 banner where we saw Aoki submit Alvraez 1:32 into the first round with a heel hook. Since losing to Chandler, some have questioned where Alvarez belongs in the world lightweight rankings. With a win over Aoki you would certainly still have to put him into the top 10.
“This really is the perfect scenario for me,” Alvarez said. “I need to redeem myself, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than avenging my loss to Aoki in 2008. I’m glad I’m able to get back on the horse and fight someone of his caliber right away.”
Some of the bigger names within the MMA industry have also questioned Shinya Aoki and where he belongs in the rankings. With only five losses in 35 bouts, and 18 of those 30 wins coming by way of submission, you most certainly have to put Aoki in the top 10 lightweights in the world. 17 of Aoki’s 18 submissions have come within the 1st round and the 18th came in the 2nd round. Aoki is a submission specialist and will look for the same outcome in his rematch against Alvarez. Aoki is now 7-0 since his decision loss to Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, Gilbert Melendez which took place in April of 2010. With a victory over Alvarez, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him come back for another fight within a major U.S. promotion.
“Ed asked me to secure this rematch for him years ago,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “I promised I would, and now it’s official. Anytime you can put two of the world’s Top 10 Lightweights in the cage together at the pinnacle of their careers, you’ve got a very special fight on your hands – and that’s exactly what we will see in Cleveland April 20th.”