Two of the most decorated Lightweights of our time are headed for Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate what some folks are now calling a "counterculture" holiday. Regardless, fans of cannabis and/or mixed martial arts around the world will likely agree that Alvarez vs. Aoki II may be the biggest headliner Bellator has offered us to date. The bout will be broadcast live on MTV2 as the feature bout of Bellator 66 on Friday April 20th inside of the I-X Center.
Aoki and Alvarez squared off for the first time as part of the Dynamite!! 2008 annual New Years Eve fight card. . It only took Aoki just over a minute and a half to finish his opponent (via heel hook) and take home the coveted WAMMA Lightweight Championship (sarcasm). He would be the first and only WAMMA Lightweight title holder.
Alvarez is coming off a heartbreaking loss against Michael Chandler at Bellator 58 late last year, a fight where Chandler choked him out and took his Bellator Lightweight Title for good measure. The fight between Alvarez and Chandler earned 2011 Fight of the Year honors from many MMA pundits. I had the fight as extremely close second to the 9+ Rounds that Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard spent together inside of the Octagon last year. So why doesn't Alvarez (a fighter who probably has more pull than anyone in BFC) take a rematch with Chandler rather than Aoki? Well Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has made it clear that the only way a fighter can earn a title shot in his promotion is through winning one of his Tournaments at that very weight class. It's not clear whether or not Alvarez has any interest in competing in such a Tournament but it is clear that he will be welcoming submission specialist Shinya Aoki into the cage on April 20th for his Bellator debut. The Aoki rematch Alvarez has been wanting for quite some time.
Another intriguing rematch has been announced for the Bellator 66 card between 125 lb. WMMA standouts Jessica Eye and Aisling Daly. Daly is responsible for the lone blemish on Eye's record, a fight that took place back at the NAAFS: Fight Night in the Flats event during the summer of last year. More info on this rematch can be found at mmarising (the go to source for WMMA news).