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Bellator 106 Review: Alvarez & Chandler produce another thriller

MMA Mount review a fascinating night of action from Bellator 106.

Eddie Alvarez reclaimed the Bellator lightweight championship controversially edging his rematch with Michael Chandler at Bellator 106.

Emmanuel Newton and Daniel Straus also produced upsets in Bellator title fights against Muhammed Lawal and Pat Curran respectively in a memorable night in Long Beach California.

Alvarez earned a split decision win taking two 48-47 scorecards to the 27 year old’s one. Newton and Straus both took home unanimous verdicts, with the new 145 pound champion a clear winner.

Many observers believed Chandler and Alvarez was the true main event of what was set to be Bellator’s inaugural pay per view even before Tito Ortiz’s withdrawal from injury. Re-matching one of the all-time great mixed martial arts contests, as two consensus top 15 lightweight’s in the sport’s best division, somehow the fight lived up to its billing. The “fight of the year” contender surpassed anything even the most ardent Quinton “Rampage” Jackson or Ortiz fans could have expected from the aging former UFC champions.

Alvarez fought a much more cautious fight circling away from the now former champion early, content to look to counter strike, whilst the Alliance MMA fighter came forward looking to cut off the cage. Mainly a closely contended striking round it went the way of Chandler who slammed the Blackzilian on his back and looked to finish with a rear naked choke before the buzzer.

A division one NCAA wrestler, Chandler landed three takedowns in round two, which was also Alvarez’s best round striking perhaps leading to the dissention in the final scorecards. Nearing the end of the round Chandler touched the mat with his hand clearly wobbled by an uppercut and left hook combination landed by Alvarez.

Heading into the third round Chandler was beginning to show the wear and tear of the frenetic battle bleeding around his left eye. Alvarez produced his most dominant round working over the then champion’s eye and landing the crispest combinations of the fight.

A flying knee from Chandler landed early in the fourth and shifted the momentum back in his favour after he appeared to be tiring in the third. The previously undefeated fighter then used top control and ground and pound to showcase his dominance in the round and leave Alvarez desperately needing to make an impression in the final round.

Chandler got a takedown early in the fifth and worked a neck crank but Alvarez scrambled to take Chandler’s back and locked in two rear naked chokes in the final two minutes. Both chokes were tight but Chandler found a way to survive and worked his way back on top with just 30 seconds remaining in the round. Those Alvarez submission attempts were the closet either man came to finishing providing fitting theatre to finish a phenomenal 25 minute war of attrition.

Lacklustre in comparison, Newton stunned “King Mo” for a second time, winning Bellator’s 205 pound interim title. The 29 year old was consistently the more active fighter and used defensive wrestling to stifle the more lauded former Strikeforce champion. “The Hardcore Kid” hurt Mo in the second round but couldn’t finish chasing down the season eight tournament winner. Heading into the championship rounds Newton was clearly ahead to rounds to one, but neither fighter asserted themselves in the final ten minutes, ultimately Newton received unanimous 49-46 scorecards.

Straus avenged his loss from four years ago against Curran earning a unanimous decision against the previously touted champion. The American Top Team representative used his grinding wrestling heavy game to outwork the 26 year old. An illegal knee midway through the fight almost leads to Straus winning by disqualification, but he recovered scoring a takedown immediately after the restart in round three and dominating thereafter. At the time Jason Herzog’s decision to take a point from the then champion looked likely to have a huge bearing on the fight. Ultimately Straus didn’t let things get that close. It could be argued Curran was more psychologically affected by the foul then Straus was physically hurt by the knee that landed flush whilst he was grounded. Curran’s only impressive round was the second where he shifted in and out with crisp punching combinations.

Joe Riggs became the first ever Fight Master using his wrestling and experience to beat Mike Bronzoulis. He picked a unanimous decision winning every round on all three judge’s scorecards. Mike Richman won a thrilling opener, recovering from being rocked to take out Akop Stepanyan with a blistering right hand. He followed up with double hammer fists in the first round, forcing Herb Dean to jump in.

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Full results:

Eddie Alvarez defeats Michael Chandler via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)

Emmanuel Newton defeats Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

Daniel Strauss defeats Pat Curran via unanimous decision (49-45, 48-46, 48-46)

Joe Riggs defeats Mike Bronzoulis via unanimous decision (30-37, 30-27, 20-27)

Mike Richman defeats Akop Stepanyan via technical knockout (punches) round one, 4:05

Preliminary card:

Jesse Juarez defeats Joe Williams via submission (guillotine choke) round one, 0:57

Cristiano Souza defeats Alejandro Garcia via submission (rear naked choke) round three, 3:06

Brandon Halsey defeats Hector Ramirez via technical knockout (punches) round one, 0:57

Mike Guymon defeats Aaron Miller via submission (triangle choke) round two, 4:20

Cleber Luciano defeats Joe Camacho via unanimous decision (30-37, 30-37, 30-27)

Josh Smith defeats Darren Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.