Behind effective wrestling, timely striking and numerous rear-naked choke attempts, Will Brooks put an end to the Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez trilogy conclusion for now with a decision victory at Bellator 120 Saturday night.
Brooks, who agreed to the fight last week after Alvarez suffered a head injury in training, is now the interim champion. He will likely meet Alvarez later this year to unify the belts.
“This is an amazing thing to happen,” Brooks said. “I have been waiting for the opportunity to slug it out with (Chandler).
“To get the opportunity to fight Chandler…this was an amazing fight and at one point, I wasn’t even concerned with the belt.”
Brooks (14-1) earned a shot at the title when he won the Season 9 tournament crown. He has won five straight since suffering his first and only loss to Saad Awad back in 2013.
“I don’t think I could hit this dude any cleaner,” Brooks said. “He has been a champion and is still a champion, belt or no belt. I got all the respect for that man.”
Chandler was visibly bothered by the result and admitted he wasn’t at his best, saying, “I fought the worst performance of my life. I have a lot of different things going on, but congrats to Will.
“I will be back stronger.”
The loss was the second straight for Chandler, who won his first 12 professional bouts, including a 2011 submission victory over Alvarez. He defended the title three times before falling to Alvarez last November via split decision.
There has been no timetable set for a return to the cage for Alvarez.