Photo via Bellator
Bellator Fighting Championships will head to the "Sunshine State" this Saturday night (November 19, 2011) at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, live on MTV2.
The main card will air live on the basic cable network, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
Bellator 58 features two champions who are competing on the same card. Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, will be looking to defend his title against Bellator season four tournament winner Michael Chandler, who's undefeated in his young career.
The other, Hector Lombard, will be competing in a 195 pound "superfight" against former UFC and Strikeforce competitor Trevor Prangley. Lombard will be looking to go 4-0 in Bellator non-title fights and 8-0 in the promotion overall.
Lastly, former Sengoku featherweight champion and Bellator summer series tournament finalist Marlon Sandro will look to get back on track against WEC veteran and fellow Brazilian Rafael Diaz.
Our complete Bellator 58 preview and predictions after the jump:
155 lb. title: Eddie Alvarez (22-2) vs. Michael Chandler (8-0)
Eddie Alvarez has a spotless record in Bellator, winning the inaugural tournament, defending his title against Pat Curran and also going 2-0 in non-title bouts against UFC veterans Roger Huerta and Josh Neer. Alvarez trains out of Philadelphia Fight Factory alongside fellow Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky and he's a regular sparring partner with UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Needless to say, as a top five ranked lightweight fighter in the world, he should be ready for what Michael Chandler brings on Saturday night.
Michael Chandler holds a spotless record in his entire career and he ran through a gauntlet of top prospects in the Bellator season four lightweight tournament which included a finish of tough European submission specialist Marcin Held and decision victories over formerly undefeated Lloyd Woodard and the incredibly dangerous Patricky Freire in the finals.
Footwork and speed will be key for Alvarez, who likely will want to keep this fight standing where he can work his crisp boxing. The champion is very dangerous with his striking as he seems to throw everything into his punches and he mixes up his attacks well by repeatedly going to the body. He's dangerous with looping hooks, uppercuts and those body shots, all of which have the potential to drop an opponent.
Michael Chandler was an All-American wrestler at Missouri and he'll need all of that skill to score some takedowns against Alvarez. He's young, confident and upset-minded. Training out of Xtreme Couture, he's quickly been adding more tools to his game in his brief mixed martial arts career thus far and he's going to be dangerous if he can put Alvarez on his back. The Bellator champion was taken down in both of his last two fights so that's not a crazy idea to think that Chandler can do it too. Chandler likely can't bullrush him early though, which means he'll have to stand and trade a bit to set up his takedowns which will be dangerous.
In my opinion, Chandler has the tools to beat Alvarez, but this match-up is taking place a little early in his career. I wouldn't be floored if he pulled off the upset, but this is a fight that Alvarez should win at this point.
Prediction: Eddie Alvarez via TKO in round three
185 lbs.: Hector Lombard (30-2-1) vs. Trevor Prangley (23-8-1)
Hector Lombard has been a human highlight reel while competing for Bellator. He's destroyed everyone put in his path with the only fighter making it to the judges being recent middleweight season five tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko. He's competing in another non-title superfight and thus far, the three previous "superfights" have ended with a wild clip of Lombard destroying his opponent on YouTube.
Trevor Prangley was once a pretty good prospect, but at 39 years old, it appears that time has finally caught up to him. He enters this fight having lost three of his past four bouts, all by stoppage including a nasty first round knockout loss to Tatsuya Mizuno at the Dream GP Final earlier this summer.
This fight will be held at 195 pounds, and being the bigger man will likely be the only advantage for Prangley heading in. If he can survive the first few minutes where Lombard will be looking to take his head off, he might be able to draw it to the judges, but prospects are not good for him. Lombard is faster, younger, stronger and incredibly more powerful. He'll likely be putting Prangley to sleep.
Prediction: Hector Lombard via knockout in round one
155 lbs.: Marlon Sandro (19-3) vs. Rafael Dias (15-8-2)
Marlon Sandro is widely regarded as having some of the heaviest hands in the featherweight division. His knockouts while becoming the Sengoku 145 pound champion are some all-time greats, flooring the likes of Masanori Kanehara and Nick Denis while competing in Japan. He advanced to the Bellator "Summer Series" tournament finals and was on his way to capturing the tournament and earning a title shot before he was caught with a head kick from Pat Curran.
His opponent, Rafael Dias, is pretty much being served up to him on a silver platter. Dias has lost his last three bouts and hasn't fought in over a year. His only saving grace is that all three men who recently beat him are pretty solid featherweights. Dias trains out of American Top Team so he'll put up a decent fight but I expect Sandro to overwhelm him with his brutal uppercut at some point.
Prediction: Marlon Sandro via TKO in round two
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Will Eddie Alvarez be able to defend his belt against the young and hungry Michael Chandler? Do you expect any crazy highlight reel-worthy finishes on this card?