31-Year-Old Bellator Lightweight 16-3-0
March 23, 2017 Michael Chandler News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Chandler (leg) will defend his lightweight title against Brent Primus at the Bellator 180 pay-per-view event in New York on June 24, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.
Bellator's second ever pay-per-view event has the names, but now it's starting to shape up by putting title belts on the line. Chandler would be a ranked lightweight in the UFC, but he's seen a lot of success in Bellator -- his only losses have came to Will Brooks and Eddie Alvarez, both of whom are now with the UFC. Chandler has won four in a row since those losses, including a split-decision win over former UFC product Benson Henderson, a title fight in which he suffered a broken right fibula. That bout took place back in November, so he should be near 100 percent by the summertime. As far as his opponent, Primus is a bit of a wildcard, as he's 7-0 in his professional career with only one knockout. Despite the inexperience, Primus is an older fighter, and will hold a slight height advantage in the bout.
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Fantasy AnalysisChandler squeaked out a split-decision victory against Henderson to defend his lightweight strap, despite fading a bit in the championship rounds. Although he did enough to retain his belt, the 30-year-old will be forced to put his four-fight winning streak on hold and take some time off, though he could return earlier than the six-month window if cleared by a licensed physician. Chandler also suffered a right eyelid laceration in the belt, but that should heal well before the leg.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler came out like a house of fire in the first round. He landed some huge haymakers and even hit a German suplex straight out of professional wrestling. Henderson appeared to be hurt a few times, but he was able to survive. Chandler continued to push forward. He did not entirely dominate the fight, but he did prevent Henderson from getting his offense going. Chandler had the wrestling advantage and landed big shots whenever Henderson went for legs kicks. Those are the two biggest strength's of Henderson's game. Chandler certainly got tired as the fight went on. In the final round, the former UFC champion took the back and worked for the choke. Chandler survived and made the final bell.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler was in line to take on the winner of the Henderson/Pitbull fight at Bellator 160, and that ended up being Henderson in bizarre fashion. Henderson dropped his Bellator debut to Andrey Koreshkov on April 22, and was well on track to suffering his second straight defeat Saturday night. Pitbull was in control of that fight until he had to withdraw due to a leg injury, apparently caused by Henderson checking his kicks. Now, Chandler will defend his Bellator strap against a fighter in Henderson that does not have momentum on his side. Based on how Henderson has looked since entering the promotion, Chandler should enter this bout as the favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisInjuries have delayed Chandler's return to the octagon, but he certainly didn't show any ring rust Friday night. The new Bellator lightweight champion cashed in one of the best performances of his career against Freire, delivering a lightning-fast right hand in the first round that put his opponent's lights out. With fellow lightweight Will Brooks making the move to the UFC, the belt should be Chandler's to defend for the foreseeable future. His only career losses have been to Brooks and Eddie Alvarez, both of whom are now fighting for the UFC. At 30 years old and possessing a diverse skill set, Chandler should be a big draw for Bellator for years to come, given his health.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler (14-3) was removed from the card after his opponent, Josh Thompson (22-8, 1), sustained an unknown injury during training camp over the weekend of April 30-May 1. In place of Chandler and Thompson, Sergei Kharitonov (23-5) will fight Josh Appelt (12-5) and Andre Fialho (6-0) will fight Rick Reger (7-1).
Fantasy AnalysisEntering the bout as a -1450 favorite, Chandler perhaps took more time to finish his opponent than anticipated. Nevertheless, Chandler smothered the bloodied Rickels in the latter stages of Round 2, earning an inelegant stoppage from uncontested blows. Bellator seems to have been building Chandler back up after a trio of losses between 2013-2014; after Friday's convincing stoppage of "Caveman", Chandler should be ready to face top competition once again.
Fantasy AnalysisBellator couldn't afford to have Chandler lose four in a row so they gave him someone he should destroy and he did exactly that. Chandler looked terrific, landing a couple big shots and a takedown before the finish, but Campos wasn't a worthy opponent so it's difficult to say if he has actually gotten his game back together or not. His next fight will certainly be against better competition.