Fallen Stock – Michael Chandler
By Christopher Jester
At Bellator 120, no one suffered more of a hit to their stock than former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. Just a year ago many members of the media were raving about Michael Chandler as the best lightweight outside of the UFC. When his grudge match against Eddie Alvarez fell through and he was paired against upstart Will Brooks, surely few thought that Brooks would be the one to upset Chandler. Yet, fate played a cruel joke on Chandler and after this loss he is faced with a climb back to relevancy.
Maybe that is a bit harsh. He has not fallen out of relevancy yet but he is definitely on the outside looking in at what could have been in a third match against Alvarez. He was easily considered the best lightweight in Bellator’s roster. With this loss to Will Brooks, he has added another fissure to that claim. Will Brooks cannot be considered a nobody but if you asked 10 people, probably only two could honestly admit that they knew who he was prior to last Saturday night. Anybody who is an MMA fan knew the potential that Brooks had, but very few would be telling the truth if they said that they thought he would put all his ducks in order against Chandler to pull off that kind of victory.
Chandler faces a tough road back to the perch he so rested on with ease as he defeated the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Akihiro Gono, Rick Hawn and David Rickels. Suffering back-to-back losses can derail anyone’s momentum. And it was momentum alone that gave him his immediate rematch against Alvarez. Now with two losses under his belt, Chandler is in a predicament and will find a hell of a lot of pressure in returning to form.
One more thing to add intrigue though. The consensus was split on social media on whether Chandler won the fight. He was near victorious with a finish in the last round, but Brooks survived and the judges saw it differently. This works in Chandler’s favor if he can go into his next fight against a tough challenger and win decisively. Whether Brooks fights Alvarez, or Chandler fights Brooks again – he has two opponents that he has developed some history with. Obviously the more bitter bad blood may exist between him and Alvarez, but isn’t a split decision fight you nearly won just as bitter?
Chandler has options but is limited to what Bellator wants to do with him. Although his stock has fallen, he is still one of their better options at lightweight. The concern here is whether Bellator decides to risk a third loss or feed him someone he surely should defeat. Yet, we know how that turned out last time for Chandler. There is no clear cut path for Chandler after his recent losses but given his talent and his name he will find an opponent that will get him right back into the title picture.
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