With one slot remaining for the next Bellator 155-pound tournament, it was assumed that former champion Eddie Alvarez would take it and get on the path toward reclaiming the belt from Michael Chandler, the first man to beat him in nearly three years.
However, that won't be the case as Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed Wednesday that the Philadelphia, PA, native will not be among this year's field.
In an interview with MMA Junkie Radio, Rebney said both sides decided it wasn't the right time for Alvarez (22-3) to enter the tournament field, which would be his first since winning the title in Bellator's first season. Instead, they are still moving ahead on talks for Alvarez to rematch with Shinya Aoki, the last man to beat him before the Chandler defeat.
The two fought on the K-1/DREAM New Year's Eve show in 2008 and Aoki (30-5-0-1) tapped Alvarez to a heel hook in the first round to win the WAMMA 155-pound title. That would be Alvarez' last fight outside Bellator, but Rebney said he's unsure if the rematch would take place in the Bellator cage or for DREAM.
Rebney added they will choose between three lightweights to take the open spot.