Some men crumble under pressure. Apparently, Michael Chandler thrives on it. Despite being labeled a two-to-one underdog, the undefeated 25-year-old stunned Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the main event of Bellator 58, ending a brutal back-and-forth war via fourth-round rear-naked choke to steal away the promotion's 155-pound title.
In an unbelievable contest guaranteed a spot on every "Fight of the Year" list, Chandler (9-0) came out guns blazing from the opening bell, crushing Alvarez (22-3) early and often with a roaring series of combinations. The night almost ended prematurely, as Chandler capped off a furious first frame by dropping the champion with a massive right hand in the closing seconds.
Dazed and battered, Alvarez climbed back into the fray in the ensuing ten minutes, scoring with picture-perfect combinations to the head and body. With both men badly damaged entering the fourth round, Chandler capitalized on a failed takedown by unleashing a booming right hand that sent his opponent stumbling across the cage. Sensing the moment, the youngster pounced, loading-up into a last-gasp flurry before securing Alvarez's back and sinking in the fight-ending choke.
In the night's co-main event, Hector Lombard (31-2-1, 1 NC) made quick work of Trevor Prangley (23-9-1), knocking "The South African Hammer" out cold in the opening minute of the second round. Lombard dominated from the outset, softening Prangley up with a relentless striking assault before sealing the deal with a thunderous counter left uppercut that put any doubt to rest. The victory marked the twentieth in a row for the middleweight champion, who has remarkably evaded defeat since a 2006 loss to Gegard Mousasi.
Bellator 58 results:
Michael Chandler def. Eddie Alvarez via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:06 of round 3
Hector Lombard def. Trevor Prangley via TKO (Punches) at 1:06 of round 2
Marlon Sandro def. Rafael Dias via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 3:56 of round 1
Jessica Aguilar def. Lisa Ellis-Ward via Decision (Unanimous)
Brett Cooper def. Jared Hess via Decision (Unanimous)
Valdir Araujo def. Ailton Barbosa via Decision (Unanimous)
Cosmo Alexandre def. Avery McPhatter via TKO (Knees) at 0:20 of round 1
Herbert Goodman def. Jonas Billstein via DQ (Soccer Kick to Downed Fighter) at 3:21 of round 2
Fabio Mello def. Farkhad Sharipov via Decision (Unanimous)