Eddie Alvarez was one of the top fighters outside the UFC for quite some time. Of course, that came with being a dominant champion in Bellator.
But that all changed when Michael Chandler took out Alvarez in their title fight at Bellator 58. A fighter people had been dying to see compete with the talent of the UFC was now off the radar of most fans.
Alvarez was able to overcome the loss by getting revenge for a past loss against Shinya Aoki at Bellator 66. He won with a convincing TKO victory over the Japanese submission ace that could be described as an absolute destruction.
Now Alvarez finds himself in his final fight for Bellator against Patricky Freire at Bellator 76. This is a huge fight for Alvarez, who—with an impressive victory—could cash in huge when his contract runs up after the fight.
Bellator already lost out on one champion to the UFC when Hector Lombard went over, and now the promotion is poised to end up losing its first real signing and possibly the biggest star in the promotion’s history.
Alvarez would fit in well in the UFC’s lightweight division. Would he be top ten in what is arguably the most stacked and deep division the UFC owns? Debatable.
Against the top tier guys like Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard, Anthony Pettis and current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, Alvarez would have a tough time pulling out the win and would be the underdog in any of those fights. Even against guys in the bottom half of the top ten like Clay Guida, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon, Alvarez would have trouble.
Which is why I propose this idea if Zuffa does decide to purchase the services of Alvarez: Warm-up Alvarez with one Strikeforce fight and have him fight current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez if he wins his first fight.
The fight could legitimize either fighter, giving Melendez a fight against a name that has been inside the top-ten lightweight rankings before. Adding Alvarez also adds depth to a shallow Strikeforce division.
You could send Alvarez over to the UFC, but you risk him falling to one of the top guys, which personally I think would happen. So why lose that when you could have Alvarez and Melendez fight in what would be a great, explosive Strikeforce title bout?
It makes more sense to put Alvarez among the ranks in Strikeforce. Alvarez could be a force in the UFC, but his loss to Chandler proved he still has holes and, unlike Lombard, he wouldn’t be on a huge winning streak coming into the UFC.
Why pass up the chance to finally give Melendez a big name fight? It could be the biggest non-Ronda Rousey card Strikeforce can make.
Photo: Eddie Alvarez (Sherdog.com/Dave Mandel)