Bellator 58 Recap: Chandler Takes the Belt, Lombard Dominates Prangley

via www.bellator.com

Bellator 58 took place Saturday night at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida.  There were 4 fights on the televised card:  Rafael Dias vs. Marlon Sandro, Jessica Aguilar vs. Lisa Ward, Trevor Prangley vs. Hector Lombard, and the lightweight title fight between champ Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler.

The first bout was Rafael Dias vs. Marlon Sandro.  Dias came out strong and looked like he might make some trouble for Sandro early with a punch that put Sandro on his back.  Dias was unable to keep his momentum going, however, and Sandro managed a takedown that quickly resulted in an arm triangle.  Dias tapped with just over a minute left in the first round.

The next fight was one that was originally supposed to be on the undercard.  Jessica Aguilar took on Lisa Ward in a rematch of a fight from 2006.  Ward won their first fight, which was Aguilar's MMA debut.  But this time around Aguilar left little doubt which fighter has evolved more.  Ward was tough and persistent, but was content to stand and ignore her own wrestling background.  Aguilar's striking was sharper, harder, and overall just better than anything Ward was bringing.  After three rounds, the judges didn't hesitate to award Aguilar the unanimous decision victory.

Next, middleweight champ Hector Lombard went up against Trevor Prangley in a catchweight, non-title fight.  Prangley managed to endure the first round and took some punishment, but early in the second Lombard finally unloaded a power left hand that left the South African fighter on the mat.  A few more shots and the fight was over, and Lombard's hand was raised. 

Finally, we had the lightweight title fight between champion Eddie Alvarez and tournament winner Michael Chandler.   This was an amazing, back-and-forth battle that at some moments was moving too quickly to follow.   Both fighters showed great standup skills and impressive power.  Alvarez got off to a slow start and was in trouble early, but by the third round, was becoming clearly dominant.  Chandler was hurt (and apparently beaten).  But coming out for the fourth round Chandler pulled it together, then managed to land a right hand that put the champ on his back.  Without hesitation Chandler moved in, took Alvarez' back, and almost before we knew it, Alvarez was tapping and we had a new champion. 

Overall, Bellator delivered a fantastic card tonight.  Marlon Sandro likely cemented a spot in the next featherweight tourney, Jessica Aguilar redeemed her first loss, Hector Lombard continued what is being called the longest win streak in MMA, and Michael Chandler handed Eddie Alvarez his first loss since 2008 and became only the second lightweight champion in Bellator history.  An amazing night of fights.

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