Chandler was largely unknown when he entered this year's Bellator lightweight tournament, but everyone who follows MMA needs to know his name now. With the victory he improved to 9-0 in his pro career, and he looked amazing doing it. Chandler is for real.
The first 30 seconds of the fight were crazy, with Chandler leveling Alvarez and battering him so hard that referee Troy Waugh looked like he was about to step in and stop it. But Alvarez fought back, hit Chandler with a hard punch of his own that curtailed the barrage, and managed to regroup. For most of the rest of the first Alvarez was actually getting the better end of the striking exchanges, but in the final seconds of the first Chandler again knocked Alvarez down, and only the bell stopped Chandler from pouncing on Alvarez.
In the second round Alvarez got more under control and more precise with his punches, and Chandler appeared to be tiring. Alvarez still appeared to be feeling the effects of the assault from the first round, but he connected with some good shots and probably deserved to win the round.
In the third round Alvarez really went on the attack, landing a hard body shot and a head kick against the cage that had Chandler hurt, and then picking his shots and pounding away at Chandler, as all Chandler could do was try to hold on. By the end of the round both men's faces were covered in blood.
At the start of the fourth round both men looked exhausted, and Alvarez appeared to have the upper hand and the ability to ride out a decision. But Chandler shockingly landed a huge punch that floored Alvarez once again, and this time he jumped on top of Alvarez, got into full mount, battered away and then took Alvarez's back. From there Chandler sunk in a rear-naked choke, and Alvarez tapped out.
This was a great fight, a Fight of the Year candidate. And Chandler is a great champion.
In other Bellator action:
Hector Lombard landed a huge left hook to Trevor Prangley's jaw early in the second round, then teed off on him on the ground before the referee (too slowly) stepped in to stop it. The TKO victory was Lombard's 20th win in a row.
Marlon Sandro survived an early knockdown from Rafael Dias to come back and win by first-round submission, sinking in a head-and-arm choke standing up and then taking Dias down without breaking the choke to finish the fight. It was a typically impressive showing from Sandro.
Jessica Aguilar beat Lisa Ellis-Ward, 30-27 on all three judges' scorecards in a very good performance, and afterward she asked Bellator promoter Bjorn Rebney to book her a fight with Megumi Fujii. That would be a great fight, and a fight Bellator should book in 2012.