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Gilbert Melendez vs. Eddie Alvarez Needs to Happen

Gilbert Melendez did it again this week.

Melendez, the Strikeforce lightweight champion, pointed out that there's a great fight to be made between himself and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, a fight that both fighters want and that MMA fans across America would mark on their calendars as a can't-miss. And he pointed out an uncomfortable truth about MMA: A fight like that doesn't get made just because the fighters and the fans want it. It only gets made if the promoters and the TV people agree to it.

"You've got to talk to the bosses about that, but I'd love to match that up with Eddie Alvarez," Melendez said Friday on HDNet's Inside MMA. "I think him and I would put on a great show and it would really play out who's the top lightweight in the world."

The "bosses" Melendez referred to are Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker and Bellator promoter Bjorn Rebney, and they've both said they're on board with it. Rebney, in particular, has made a point of repeatedly appearing on television and saying that he and Alvarez are ready to make the fight happen as soon as Melendez is ready.

Melendez won't be ready until late this year, as he's recovering from a broken hand and expecting his first child and needs to sort out his disciplinary issues with the Tennessee Athletic Commission. That's fine, because Alvarez won't be ready until late this year either, with a title defense against Pat Curran coming first.

Assuming Alvarez beats Curran -- and he'll be a heavy favorite -- there's no reason not to have Melendez vs. Alvarez in the Strikeforce cage in the winter, after the Bellator season is over. Coker has noted that there are issues related to the ownership of the video rights to a potential Melendez-Alvarez fight, but those issues are not so overwhelming that they can't be resolved.

A fight between Alvarez and Melendez would be the best lightweight fight in MMA the rest of the year, other than the Frank Edgar-B.J. Penn rematch at UFC 118. This is a fight that needs to happen.