Though Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez has a fight lined up against Mike Chandler on Nov. 19, 2011, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney already has a fight planned for his lightweight champion for early 2012.
Specifically, a rematch against the last man to defeat him, DREAM lightweight champion and limb tearing submission specialist, Shinya Aoki.
Alvarez and Aoki were first matched up at Dynamite 2008 in Japan. It wasn't much of a fight, though, as it lasted all of 92 seconds. Aoki caught Eddie early in the opening stanza with a heel hook that forced a tap. Since then, Alvarez has been on a tear, winning his last eight fights and capturing the Bellator lightweight title in the process.
Time now to get that Aoki thorn out of his side.
Speaking to MMA Weekly, Rebney reveals that the wheels are in motion to have the rematch setup in Bellator in early 2012.
"Eddie and I have been talking about that fight now for the last two years. Ever since Eddie got submitted over in Japan, Ed's been calling me saying ‘how can we make it?' Now we've finally got it done. To be completely honest, Ed has got his hands full against Mike Chandler. Mike Chandler is an absolute freak of nature in terms of his wrestling. Ed's completely focused. He's 110-percent as good as he's ever been. So we'll see what happens in that fight. That is going to be a wickedly difficult fight for both of those guys If Ed wins that fight then we would look at doing the Aoki fight probably February sometime. An early February date, cause Ed's fight's going to happen right around Thanksgiving, and then you want at least a couple of months. You want at least a couple of months before you jump in there with one of the best lightweights in the world."
Aoki gives his thoughts:
"Yes, I will fight him next year. I am looking forward to it."
Before the rematch can even take place, Alvarez will have to defend his lightweight belt against the winner of the most recent Bellator lightweight ournament, the dangerous and undefeated, Mike Chandler.
Aoki, on the other hand, was last seen in action at Dream 17 on Sept. 24, 2011, where he defeated Rob McCullough via neck crank. The Japanese judoka is riding an impressive six fight winning streak since losing to current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez on April 17, 2010.
Should this champion vs. champion rematch take place? If so, who wins and why?