Before Eddie Alvarez’s departure from Bellator MMA, fans didn’t get the final chapter to the Michael Chandler trilogy they were hoping for. When Alvarez had to pull out of Chandler III because of a concussion incurred in training, Will Brooks stepped up and won a brutal five-round bout against the former champion. After a championship loss and interim rematch loss, does Michael Chandler deserve another title shot?
New Game, New Rules.
Whether or not Chandler deserves another shot at the lightweight title will depend largely on how Coker aims to move forward from the tournament structure. Looking to promote the biggest names of the organization in more “superfights” and less tournaments, Chandler definitely fits the bill as one of the organization’s most entertaining athletes. A rematch against current lightweight interim champion Will Brooks would unquestionably make for a great fight. Their five round battle was a close one, ultimately giving the split decision victory to Brooks. While that would be a great rematch, does Chandler vs. Brooks 2 seem like a dragging out a fight that wasn’t supposed to be? He was meant to fight the final trilogy against Alvarez, and round two against a replacement might seem like a dragged out mishap rivalry.
If Coker is looking to honor the advancements made by fighters under the rules and style of the former tournament structure, the next lightweight finals match-up won’t happen until Bellator 126 when Patricky “Pitbull” faces Marcin Held. If Bellator doesn’t want to give Chandler another shot at the title, the finalist winner of Held vs. Pitbull would make an equally exciting showcase of new, young talent. The winner between the two would certainly deserve a chance to take the the top spot and the loser of the two would still make very promotable, possibly co-headlining feature fight. Both Held and Pitbull have lost to Chandler before, and both competitors would love a chance at payback when it would hurt the most. Title shot or not, a third consecutive loss on his part would bring a serious blow to his standing in the organization–a punishment both Held and Pitbull would love to dish out.
The Final Say
Whether or not Michael Chandler gets another shot, he has to prepare for the shark tank of talent rising in the lightweight division. Wherever he ends up, all roads point to the conclusion that he needs a win to revitalize his efforts and career in MMA. A Held or Pitbull rematch seems very plausible, and he has to be ready to stop either them on their quest for vengence. Perhaps more than anyone, “Ill Will” Brooks wants nothing more than to knock the interim off of his championship status.