Bellator 66 Preview: Aoki/Alvarez 2Author : Brad Taschuk
The first round of the tournaments are through, so to celebrate the occasion Bellator has put together their best card of the season. Unfortunately for them, the UFC is putting on some little fight this weekend as well, so the Lightweight superfight, semi-finals and Middleweight semi-finals will be overshadowed and hardly heard about. Still, that's no reason we can't take a look at an intriguing fight between two top 15 Lightweights.
The big attraction on this card is Shinya Aoki (+230) coming over to Bellator to take another shot against a top North American 155er in Eddie Alvarez (-270). Aoki's last foray into a cage in North America didn't fare so well, as he was dominated by Gilbert Melendez across five rounds. Since this fight has been talked about since Alvarez cemented his status as a top 155er in Bellator after losing to Aoki in 2008. I've had a similar thought on this fight for the past few years now, and that is the surprising narrative that exists from their first bout. People seem to think because Aoki won by submission in 90 seconds that he was the one who dragged the fight to the ground, when it was actually Alvarez who threw Aoki and haphazardly tried to stand up from half guard, leaving his leg on a silver platter for Aoki. Earlier in the round, Alvarez sprawled all over a shot by Aoki as well. I see no reason that a far more developed Alvarez would be unable to keep the fight standing this time around, and similar to Melendez punishing Aoki on the feet. Alvarez does have the power to finish Aoki, but I think a lot of this fight will take place either at an extreme distance, or with Shinya trying to convince Eddie to come down to the ground, so it will end up going to decision. After that, Alvarez will be primed to make his escape to the UFC as a top 10 Lightweight coming off a win over one of the more accomplished 155ers of this generation.
Head over to tazmma, for the breakdown of all four semi-final fights as well as some more fight videos to get you primed for what is shaping up to be a fantastic card kicking off one of the biggest weekends of MMA we'll see in 2012.