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Spike will air Eddie Alvarez-Michael Chandler fights head-to-head with UFC 178

Esther Lin

The budding counter-programming competition between the UFC and Bellator has taken another turn.

Saturday night, Spike TV will air both of Eddie Alvarez's classic matches against Michael Chandler. The bouts will air at 10 pm ET - which just happens to be the start time of the UFC 178 pay-per-view, which features Alvarez's UFC debut against Donald Cerrone.

While counter-programming is as old as television itself, there's been a notable increase in such activities between the two biggest MMA companies. UFC fired the first shot by scheduling a live Friday night show at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut on Sept. 5, just down the road from Bellator's season-opening card at Mohegan Sun at the same time.

Bellator countered by scheduling a Nov. 15 live card on basic cable, head-to-head against the UFC 180 pay-per-view featuring Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum.

The Alvarez-Chandler fights are considered the two best in Bellator's five-year history. Chandler defeated Alvarez via fourth-round submission in 2011 and won the Bellator lightweight title. Alvarez back the title via split decision last November. The two were scheduled for a trilogy fight in May, but Alvarez suffered a concussion two weeks before the fight and had to pull out.

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