Eddie Alvarez and Roger Huerta stepped into the cage at Bellator 33 with fans anticipating an action-packed war. Instead, we got Alvarez busting Huerta up. Alvarez landed a few quick leg kicks and Roger was clearly hurt badly, leaving him limping while Bellator's champion teed off with punches. No one has ever doubted Huerta's heart and it showed once again as he still fired back and even briefly dropped Alvarez in the first round.
Brief knockdown aside, it was Alvarez landing hard kicks and punches for almost the entirety of the first two rounds before the doctor stepped in and said that Huerta's knee was too badly injured to continue onward. We've seen Roger lose before, but we've never seen him so violently dominated.
With the win Alvarez is now 10-1 since 2008 and Bellator has not been shy about pushing the idea that he is the #1 lightweight in the world. Currently he sits at #6 in the USA TODAY / SB Nation Consensus Rankings. The only win over a current top ten fighter during that time was against #8 Tatsuya Kawajiri. His unavenged loss to Shinya Aoki sticks out badly on his record though.
With the dominating win over Huerta we saw Eddie do what Kenny Florian, Gray Maynard and Pat Curran couldn't do and got the stoppage. With Alvarez fighting outside the UFC the number of fights he can get that will ultimately prove where he truly sits in the division are limited, but we all know the one fight that needs to happen.
Eddie Alvarez needs to fight Gilbert Melendez. Melendez is #3 in the world according to the best rankings in the business and a fight between Gilbert and Alvarez would be one of the biggest and most relevant fights in the division, something extremely rare outside of the UFC.
The obvious problem is that Strikeforce and Bellator need to be willing to take the joint risk of their champion losing a fight to prove a point that is bigger than either individual promotion. In a perfect world the two promotions and two fighters would be able to get together and draw up a deal wherein the winner of the fight has at least one fight in the promotion of the loser to allow for some degree of reward (having arguably the #1 fighter in the world on your card is a reward) to offset the risk.
More notes from the broadcast:
- I'm not sure where Huerta goes from here. Probably just back into the next lightweight tournament in hopes that he can get his game back on track against lesser opposition. Roger is far too hesitant to launch into his strikes like he used to and he's too sloppy when he does unleash to catch a top fighter. As much as I enjoy the guy as a fighter, he may just be done as a relevant fighter.
- Lyman Good gave it everything he had against Ben Askren but Askren's wrestling is just too good. When Good would sprawl he got his hips low and pushed down on Askren's head in a way that prevents the takedown against all but the best wrestlers in the sport, and Askren is absolutely on that short list. It was extremely disappointing to see Askren spend so much time in mount and never really push for the finish. That inability to finish leads to situations like happened in the fifth where Good landed a huge upkick that seemed to flash KO Askren, Good then almost finished fight with a triangle choke. The downside to fighting with a "control only" style like Askren employed is that you allow another fighter the chance to finish up until the final bell.
- Rick Hawn was having some real trouble with Levon Maynard throughout the majority of the first round but endless time training judo came into play the second they ended up in a situation where Hawn could throw a beautiful seoi nage that seemed to stun Maynard and open him up to brutal strikes that finished the fight.
- One final point. I would not rank Alvarez #1.