The rematch between Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez that took place last night (Sat., Nov. 2, 2013) at Bellator 106 from Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif., didn't hold a candle to their epic first encounter in Nov. 2011.
But, then again, how could it?
Nonetheless, Chandler and Alvarez went toe-to-toe once again in the re-worked Spike TV main event, promoted to top billing when Tito Ortiz and his broken neck forced the cancelation of the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's inaugural pay-per-view (PPV) event.
And the 155-pound pair demonstrated the many reasons that their clash should have eclipsed the marquee from the outset.
Chandler didn't disguise his gameplan, coming right after Alvarez from the start just like he did little more than two years ago. This time, however, Alvarez refused to take the bait and -- possibly -- get his block rocked and engage in a psychotic back-and-forth brawl. On the contrary, he circled early and did his best to box up Chandler rather than slug it out.
There were some hairy exchanges, but the most danger Alvarez faced early and late was on the ground, with Chandler threatening with several solid submission attempts and delivering a ground-and-pound beating in the fourth round. Alvarez, meanwhile, painted Chandler's face all night with his jab, as well as connecting with several power shots, that swelled his eye grotesquely shut.
He was clearly the fresher fighter in the fifth and final round, almost ending it with a rear-naked choke that Chandler was somehow able to escape. In the end -- and perhaps much to the chagrin if company CEO Bjorn Rebney -- Alvarez was declared the winner via split decision, splitting their series (1-1) and reclaiming his world title.
It was, however, super close (see judges scorecards here) and no doubt deserves one final round -- and possibly even five -- in the near future to determine who is the better fighter once and for all.