It has been a long time coming, but longtime top ten Lightweight Eddie Alvarez has left Bellator and signed with the UFC to make his debut at UFC 178 opposite perennial contender and finished Donald Cerrone. Alvarez has a long and contentious relationship with Bellator when he tried to leave after the promotion could not match his original contract from the UFC, but staying with the promotion could have been one of the best things that happened to him. While he was coming off two knockout wins, he was not the champion after dropping his belt to Michael Chandler, but the lawsuit helped to give him an instant rematch. In that instant, he was able to take a decision over CHandler and recapture his title.
Now, he can be touted as the last Lightweight champion of Bellator heading into his match with Donald Cerrone. The unfortunate part for him is the 155 pound division is the most crowded it has ever been. The current champion, Anthony Pettis, has been sitting out due to injury for almost a year and he is facing off with Gilbert Melendez who threatened to leave the promotion only to gain a title shot in the process with only a win over Diego Sanchez to his credit since losing to Benson Henderson. Speaking of Henderson, he currently sits as the number one contender after taking out the likes of Josh Thomson and Rustam Khabilov and he will look for his third straight win when he faces of with Rafael Dos Anjos who sits at 6-1 in his last seven fights.
Cerrone himself has rattled off four straight wins all by finish which was capped off by a scintillating performance against the always tough Jim Miller. Lastly, the lone outsider is Khabib Nurmagomedov, who Cerrone had called out, who has been out due to a holiday. It is hard to deny him a shot since he sits at a perfect 22-0 and 6-0 in the UFC. The one other contingent is former number one contender TJ Grant who is flawless at 155 but has been sitting out due to a concussion. OIt is hard to say who deserves the title shot, but all of this will shake out. The most important thing is that it spells a ton of great matches to anchor almost every big UFC event for the future. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out but even more fun to watch it.