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EliteXC: Eddie Alvarez to fight Mike Aina in April

Eddie Alvarez vs Mike Aina

EliteXC wasted no time setting up the next opponent for Eddie Alvarez (12-1) -- he'll fight UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn trainee, Mike Aina (8-6-1), in a 160-pound bout on April 26 in Honolulu, Hawaii, according to

Alvarez was victorious in his EliteXC debut just last Friday, taking out Ross Ebanez at the ShoXC event at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J.

With a win for Alvarez over Aina -- a man who most recently gave Nick Diaz fits -- it could possibly be enough for EliteXC Live Events President, Gary Shaw, to consider awarding the hard-hitting Philadelphian a shot at KJ Noons' welterweight belt some time in 2008.

But that's putting the cart way before the horse.

First, Alvarez has to take care of business on April 26. And he does not have an easy fight on his hands with Aina, especially in front of his hometown fans in Hawaii.

Alvarez is known for his knockout power (nine of his 12 wins are from (T)KO stoppages), but living up to that could prove to be difficult in this one because Aina has never been knocked out or submitted.

In fact, all six of his losses were fights left in the hands of the judges.

In addition, those six losses are a bit deceiving. Among them are a split decision loss to IFL Lightweight Champion, Ryan Schultz, a decision loss to top UFC contender, Roger Huerta, and most recently a controversial split decision loss to Diaz at EliteXC: "Uprising" back in December.

Many -- if not most -- fans who watched that fight with Diaz thought Aina got hosed, but if ever a win could be taken from a loss that was it for the Hawaiian. He banged with the battle -tested Diaz for three solid rounds and gained a world of confidence along the way.

He'll need that confidence against Alvarez come April.

Alvarez will have to deal with a hostile crowd, a big time zone difference, and a very game opponent. Put simply, it's time to find out if "The Beast From the East" is worthy of a title shot.

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