Bellator 120: Michael Chandler Plans to “Flow” With Loss of Eddie Alvarez Rubber Match, Ready to Battle Will Brooks
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although, for now, Michael Chandler has lost his opportunity to secure a second win over Eddie Alvarez and reclaim the Bellator lightweight title, he doesn’t seem phased by what’s unfolded in the last week. After weeks of preparation and hype, Bellator announced last weekend that Alvarez has been forced to withdraw from Bellator 120, due to a concussion he incurred recently. As a result, Chandler will throw down with Will Brooks instead, giving both men only a few days to change gears and prepare for a new opponent.
“You just flow with it,” Chandler relayed on a recent media call, while discussing the fact he will fight Brooks instead of Alvarez for an interim title on May 17th. “As everybody said on this call, it’s combat sports, and what we put our bodies through everyday, there’s always that chance for injury, and there’s always that chance that either yourself, or your opponent will pull out, whether it’s eight weeks before the fight, or whether its eight hours before the fight. You never know.”
“It’s always one of those things that you never expect to happen; it’s in the back of your mind,” Chandler furthered. “When I signed on the dotted line to start my career as a mixed-martial-artist, you see guys fall out of fights all the time. You know it happens, you know it’s a possibility, and you know that if it happens, you’re going to step up to the challenge.”
While fans and pundits are well accustomed to seeing fighters pull out of bouts due to injuries, the loss of Alvarez-Chandler III immediately sent a shock wave throughout the sport. Not only because it was, and is, a highly anticipated bout, but because it was set to headline Bellator’s first pay-per-view card.
If that wasn’t enough, Bellator endured a similar setback last fall, when Tito Ortiz had to withdraw from a PPV bout with “Rampage” Jackson. Bellator ultimately elected to air the card on SPIKE, and thousands of fans got to see the thrilling Alvarez-Chandler II fight for ‘free’. Alvarez ended up winning the bout via split decision.
“When you get that call you’re going to say that stinks, especially when it’s a fight like myself and Alvarez, the trilogy, a lot of people were looking forward to it,” Chandler noted. “I was looking forward to it; it’s a chance for redemption for me, and it was a chance for me to go out there and get the world title back.”
“It just so happens that Will Brooks got the opportunity and stepped up, and he’s not just stepping in and wasn’t expecting to fight, he was expecting to fight that night,” Chandler added about Brooks, who was originally scheduled to fight Nate Jolly on Saturday. “So I believe that he put in a great training camp and that he’s prepared.”
Bellator 120 will be hosted by the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, and will also feature “Rampage” Jackson taking on “King Mo” Lawal.