Eddie Alvarez (22-2) has only one thing standing in his way of the rematch he so desperately covets. According to Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney, if the Bellator lightweight champion emerges victorious from his November 19th duel with Mike Chandler (8-0), a second bout with Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki (29-5, 1 NC) is a done deal for early 2012.
"If Ed wins that fight then we would look at doing the Aoki fight probably February sometime," Rebney confirmed to MMA Weekly. "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."
Alvarez and Aoki fight met at Dynamite!! 2008, K-1 and Dream's co-promoted end-of-the-year mega-card. In the night's co-main event, Aoki made quick work of the American, submitted him in just 92 seconds with a vicious heel hook. The abrupt loss never sat well with Alvarez.
"Eddie and I have been talking about that fight now for the last two years," Rebney said. "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."
Yet even with the low hanging fruit of revenge hovering in the near distance, a rematch should be the farthest thing from Alvarez's mind. Despite being relatively unheralded, Chandler is no stepping stone. The 25-year-old has racked up an undefeated 8-0 record en route to storming Bellator's season-four lightweight tournament. After three straight tourney victories, including a hard-fought finale win over Brazilian ace Patricky Freire, Chandler has earned the right for Alvarez's undivided attention.