As it stands today, Eddie Alvarez is the most coveted free agent in the world of mixed martial arts. The UFC has presented him an offer, and Bellator has been given the opportunity to either match it, or wave good bye to their biggest star. But that’s not what this article is about. The reason Eddie Alvarez is in this very position today is because of the violent work he did in 2012. Let’s review.
Alvarez lost his Bellator Lightweight strap in late 2011 to Michael Chandler in a fight that will remain the greatest in Bellator history for a very, very long time. With two fights left on his Bellator contract, and no interest in entering a tournament to get his belt back, Alvarez still had revenge on his mind. He wanted to even the score with the man who submitted him in Saitama back at Dynamite 2008. Heel hook master Shinya Aoki.
It was no secret that Alvarez had been asking Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney for this revenge bout for years. Rebney finally made it happen, and it would go down on April 20th inside of Cleveland’s I-X-Center. This would be a rare trip for Aoki, his only time competing stateside other than his two Strikeforce appearances.
Alvarez looked like a man on a mission during fight week. It was all business for the dangerous Philly striker at the open workouts in Independence, Ohio as well as the weigh-ins inside of the Great Lakes Ballroom. Aoki on the other hand looked like he did not want to be there, disinterested.
Come fight night, Alvarez would not only get his revenge – he would beat his opponent so bad that his corner would be forced to throw in the towel. Unfortunately for Aoki, the ref didn’t see it, and a handful of extra shots would be landed – for the sake of vengeance.
Fast forward ten events and almost six months later to Bellator 76 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Alvarez is given another tough test in front of him in the form of Brazil’s Patricky “Pitbull” Freire. This fight is being highly publicized as Alvarez’s last as a Bellator fighter. A big win here means he’s in the drivers seat come negotiation time. A loss won’t kill his career, the guy will still always be a star, but it drives down his value significantly. He’d be just another top fifteen lightweight who had dropped two of his last three in a division filled with sharks. So what does Eddie Alvarez do when his back is pressed firmly up against the wall? He puts on a career defining performances, that’s what he does.
With performances like these in a make or break year, it makes it extremely easy to crown Eddie Alvarez as 2012’s King of Violence.
Follow Eddie on Twitter @Ealvarezfight