1. Eddie Alvarez
"Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to getting *****" -
Tupac Shakur (Hail Mary)
Just like that, the rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki is in the can. Credit to Aoki, he lasted a good 30 seconds longer than Alvarez did in their first meeting. The "Tobikan Judan" heel hooked Alvarez in under two minutes in their first meeting. It took Alvarez only 2:14 to TKO Aoki this past Friday night inside of Ohio's I-X Center. Being around Alvarez for brief moments at a time during fight week you could see the fire, the focus, and the fury in the former Bellator Lightweight champion. The beating he put on his opponent was so brutal that Aoki's corner was forced to throw in the white towel for their fighter, a motion that was completely either ignored or unseen by referee Jerry Krzys.
Now that Alvarez has avenged the Aoki blemish on his record he becomes the most sought after free agent in all of MMA present day. If Alvarez isn't granted his rematch against Michael Chandler or given the payday he deserves from Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney it could be the UFC or even a title shot against Gilbert Melendez under the Strikeforce banner. Why go through a Bellator tournament if you could be granted an immediate title shot or #1 contenders match from Zuffa? The money has to be right for Alvarez and his family for him to remain in Bellator. Bellator needs Alvarez more than he needs Bellator. The promotion is still young and Eddie has the most recognizable face (and fists) on the current roster.
2. Michael McDonald
21 years old. 4 UFC fights in just over a year. His last two coming via 1st Round finish. The latest over arguably the greatest Bantamweight of all time. The hype is real. Modesto, California's own Michael McDonald has been on a terror, annihilating anyone and everyone in his path, boasting an impressive 15-1 record as the youngest fighter in the UFC. He even avenged the lone loss on his resume, knocking out Cole Escovedo during the summer of 2010. It'll be the quick knockout of Miguel Torres at UFC 145 in Georgia Saturday night that will be remembered as the win that put McDonald over the top. I have a strange feeling the "Mayday" train will not be stopping there though. Jon Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history at the age of 23 last March. Michael McDonald has to be only one more win away from a chance at the Bantamweight strap himself. Watch out Dominick Cruz.
3. Ben Rothwell
"Big" Ben Rothwell made a monster statement Saturday night by dropping Brendan "The Hybrid" Schaub in just over a minute. This KO of the night performance catapults a veteran in Rothwell (who had a rocky start to his UFC career) right back into the mix. Physique wise Rothwell looked incredible Saturday night, sporting just a muffing top rather than his usual half Nelson (belly not quite as big as Roy's). With the all Heavyweight UFC 146 card needing one more fighter due to the Overeem fiasco, Uncle Ben would be a great choice to step in against Roy Nelson, giving Nelson a shot to avenge the split decision loss he suffered to Rothwell back in their IFL days. Huge, huge win for Rothwell! Watch him make Brendan Schaub reach for the stars after knocking him unconscious in the video below after the break.
Honorable Mentions - Andreas Spang
(survives the vicious onslaught of Rogers at Bellator 66 only to land a counter left of his thus punching his own ticket to the Middleweight Finals)
(With some new elbow jabbery added to his arsenal, it was another beautiful performance from the Champ)
(no disrespect to Che Mills, Rory deserves top 10 opponents from here on out - not top 40)