Bellator officials held a special conference call Saturday to confirm previous reports centering around Eddie Alvarez and Bellator 120.
Bjorn Rebney, CEO of Bellator, officially ruled Alvarez out of a planned lightweight championship match with Michael Chandler next Saturday. The event will remain on pay-per-view, marking the first of its kind for the six-year old promotion.
Alvarez hit his head on the hip of a training partner late last week, Rebney stated. He progressed to “70-percent healthy, but ruled himself out of the fight early (Saturday) morning.”
Chandler, a former lightweight champion, will now meet Season 9 tournament winner Will Brooks for the interim lightweight title. Brooks was originally scheduled to face Nate Jolly on the card while he waited for his shot at the belt.
“What I am thrilled to announce, pleasured to announce, is that Michael Chandler will stay on this card and it will remain a pay-per-view,” Rebney said. “He will face Will Brooks for the interim lightweight world title at Bellator. I can’t speak more highly of Will Brooks.
“I could not be happier and prouder of these two guys (for stepping up).”
Bellator was forced to scrap a planned pay-per-view with Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event this past November after Ortiz suffered a neck injury. Chandler defended his title against Alvarez on the card, which was moved to Spike TV.
“Hopefully we will see the trilogy in the future,” Rebney said. “(Chandler vs. Brooks) is the fight I expected to see in five months.”
Both Ortiz and Jackson, former UFC light heavyweight champions, will be in action next weekend. Ortiz takes on Alexander Shlemenko, the reigning middleweight champion, in a non-title bout, while Jackson meets Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in the Season 10 light heavyweight tournament final as the new main event.
Rebney stated there is no timetable for Alvarez to return to action, much like fellow Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas.
“You don’t have an answer (for when they can return from a head injury),” Rebney said. “You always want to differ to going much longer (in terms of recovering from head injuries). The brain isn’t one of those things. Hopefully it will be a short-term thing.”
FightLine will have complete coverage of Bellator 120 next weekend. We will also continue to update the Alvarez situation as information becomes available.
Below is the current lineup for the night:
MAIN CARD (PPV/10 p.m. ET)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
Interim Bellator Lightweight Championship
Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks
Light Heavyweight: Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko
Bellator Heavyweight Tournament Final
Alexander Volkov vs. Blagoi Ivanov
Welterweight: Michael Page vs. Rickey Rainey
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV/8 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo vs. Eric Smith
Featherweight: Shahbulat Shamhalaev vs. Fabricio Guerreiro
Featherweight: Mike Richman vs. Goiti Yamauchi
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com/6 p.m. ET)
Featherweight: Austin Lyons vs. Zach Underwood
Heavyweight: Justin Frazier vs. Mike Wessel
Welterweight: Ben Brewer vs. Andy Uhrich
Welterweight: Anthony Lemon vs. Codie Shuffield
Bantamweight: Brian Hall vs. Cortez Phelia