There have been rumors for months about Bellator staging a rematch between their lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and the Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki. Today, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the rumors and said the bout was signed for February - on one condition (via MMA Weekly):
The only hurdle left to go before the fight happens is Alvarez defending his Bellator lightweight title against tournament winner Mike Chandler in just over a week. That by no means is a gimmee. Rebney understands that and so does Alvarez.
"To be completely honest, Ed has got his hands full against Mike Chandler. Mike Chandler is an absolute freak of nature in terms of his wrestling. His stand-up has really come around. Chandler’s a beast," said Rebney.
The two men first met at Dynamite! 2008, and Aoki submitted Alvarez with a heel hook in just 92 seconds. Alvarez signed with Bellator shortly after and has won seven straight fights in the promotion. He'll hope to make it eight with a win over Chandler next weekend. Aoki last competed at Dream 17 in September, where he submitted Rob McCullough in the first round. Aoki has fought twice before in the US, both for Strikeforce.