Best male Bellator fighter: Eddie Alvarez
Perhaps one of the best lightweight fighters in history, Eddie Alvarez is the only man (as of August 2019) to win championships in both Bellator and the UFC. Some may not give Alvarez as much praise as a champion or fighter, and others may feel his time in the UFC was more memorable given the circumstances he was put in. One can claim, however, none of his UFC moments nor his big-money offer from ONE Championship would have ever come to fruition if not for what Alvarez did in Bellator.
Making his professional MMA debut in December 2013, Alvarez won 12 of his first 13 fights across several promotions (including BodogFight and a bout in EliteXC) before competing for DREAM in 2008. Alvarez made it to the finals of that year’s Lightweight Grand Prix, but he was forced out due to an injury. He was also quickly submitted by Shinya Aoki that New Year’s Eve.
Alvarez competed on the very first Bellator card in 2009, going on to win the Bellator season one welterweight tournament at Bellator 12, becoming the inaugural Bellator lightweight champion. Alvarez won his next three bouts in Bellator, though just one was a title bout. Alvarez ended up dropping the title to Michael Chandler at Bellator 58.
Alvarez rebounded with finishes of Aoki and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire before reclaiming the title in a rematch with Chandler at Bellator 106. The two were scheduled for a trilogy bout to headline Bellator 120, but Alvarez pulled out the week prior to the event with a concussion.
Alvarez ended up leaving for the UFC, where he would go on to defeat Rafael dos Anjos and win the UFC lightweight championship in 2016. He now currently competes for ONE Championship.
- Thomas Albano