PRESS RELEASE / CHICAGO, Ill. (August 30, 2010) — Bellator Fighting Championships officially announced today that the promotion will make its debut in Pennsylvania when Philadelphia native and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie Alvarez (20-2) squares off against former UFC star Roger “El Matador” Huerta (24-4-1) in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year.
“Bellator 33: Alvarez vs. Huerta” is set to take place from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 21st.
For explosive Bellator champion Alvarez, momentum is on his side, as he enters the super-fight with an impressive five-fight win streak on the line where the longtime knockout artist has finished all of his most recent victims by submission. In his most recent trip to the cage, Alvarez put rugged UFC veteran Josh “The Dentist” Neer to sleep with a nasty rear-naked choke during Bellator 17 in Boston on May 6th of this year.
Alvarez is admittedly excited about the opportunity to compete in front of his hometown fans in Philly for the first time in the top lightweight’s career that currently spans 22 professional fights, from Japan to Boston, against many of the toughest 155 lb fighters in the business.
“Roger Huerta, Philadelphia, October 21st… this is a dream fight for me,” said Alvarez. “I’ve never even lost a fight here in the United States, so I’m definitely not going to start in my hometown of Philadelphia with all of my people there. That’s not going to happen. Not a chance.
“I’m not going to be happy unless I completely control and dominate Roger in this fight. It’s important for me to go in there and dominate this fight and prove that I’m one of the best lightweights in the world.”
In the case of Huerta, the electrifying 27 year old lightweight is eager to return to the cage after suffering a defeat in his previous outing when Pat Curran shocked the MMA world and defeated “El Matador” by unanimous decision in the semifinal lightweight tournament at Bellator 17.
Although fighting in Alvarez’ backyard of Philadelphia, Huerta expects for the advantage to ultimately lie in his favor, stating, “The cheers or jeers won’t affect me one way or the other. The pressure is on him fighting in his hometown. He’s going to bring the best out of me. The best. It’s going to be scary.
“This is a fight that I’ve always wanted. It’s a dream come true. It’s going to be a grueling fight for the both of us. It’s going to be a potential fight of the year. I’m going in there expecting a war, and I’m going in there trying to finish Eddie.”
Intending to send a direct message to his critics and fans alike in his upcoming performance against Huerta, Alvarez would be the first to admit that he’s had the former Sports Illustrated cover athlete in his sites since the moment Huerta signed his contract with Bellator.
“I don’t care where you fought in the past, but if you come to my promotion and you have a big name and you’re obviously marketable, and the promotion signs you, I’m going to have an issue with that,” said Alvarez. “If I don’t feel threatened by that, then I’m an idiot. I feel threatened by someone like Roger trying to move into my house and I’m going to do everything I can to protect what’s mine and get him out of there. I want to keep all eyes on me. I’m going to go out there and do my job and get him out of there.”
Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney was admittedly excited to bring this incredible Superfight to Philadelphia, stating, “The Alvarez-Huerta fight should be one of the most electrifying bouts in the history of Bellator Fighting Championships, and to be able to host it in one of the greatest fights towns on earth, Philadelphia is spectacular. . I’ve said it before, I believe Eddie Alvarez is the best Lightweight Mixed Martial Artist in the world today and for Roger to have the courage to face him speaks volumes about his confidence and character. The fans are really in for a treat with not only a great fight card, but also a fantastic host venue in The Liacouras Center.”
The Liacouras Center is located on the campus of Temple University, in the heart of Philadelphia, and is home to the Temple Owl’s Basketball and Volleyball, as well as Professional Indoor Soccer. The Liacouras Center was opened in 1997, and has a capacity of just over 10,000.