Archive for the ‘Michael Chandler’ Category

Full Fight: Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler – Bellator 58

Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez is not motivated by a desire to keep his belt. He is motivated by the fear of losing it.
“I have a lot of demons, and that boosts me,” he said. “That helps me prepare the way I do for these sort of belts, so I always, always, always, fight up.”
At first glance, though, it would appear he’s not fighting up, but rather down. The third defense of his title is against a guy with the fraction of the fights he has – a mere eight outings compared with his 24. But as Alvarez notes, it’s those kind of guys that often surprise you.
“The only way you can make up for experience is through good work ethic,” he said. “From watching Michael Chandler, it looks like he has that. He’s a smart guy. He knows what he has to do in order to be prepared for someone like me.”
The undefeated Chandler (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC) attempts to wrestle the belt from Alvarez (22-2 MMA, 6-0 BFC) when they meet Saturday at Bellator 58, which takes place at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla..

The main card airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX), and preliminary fights stream live on Spike.com.
Chandler is one of the brightest prospects to emerge in Bellator’s lightweight division. He won the promotion’s season-four lightweight tournament with a win over the highly touted Patricky “Pitbull” Freire. A four-time NCAA qualifier at the University of Missouri who trains at Las Vegas’ Xtreme Couture, his skills mirror the champ’s in many ways. Crisp striking skills match an ability to put opponents on the mat.
But for Alvarez, it’s not about what Chandler brings to the table. It’s about a constant fight to outrun his hardscrabble past in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.
“I go back to my old neighborhood,” he said. “It never lets me forget where I came from, what I want to achieve, and where I want to go. When you live like that long enough, it becomes so painful to you that it’s not a want for you to go back there; it’s a need for you to never go back there, and it’s like water.
“To succeed you need water. The success becomes like water. It’s a necessity.”
Alvarez long has been considered one of Bellator’s most prized possessions, and many observers believe he should be fighting on the biggest stage in the UFC. So far, he’s resisted that tug, choosing instead to stick with the fast-developing promotion and beating a series of high-profile fighters both domestically and internationally (his triumphs include Tatsuya Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen, Josh Neer and Roger Huerta). In April, he returned to Bellator after an injury layoff and halted the rise of another young gun, that of featherweight and lightweight tournament champ Pat Curran.
But as Bellator is poised to take a big step up in exposure when it begins airing on Spike TV in 2013, Alvarez is focused on being the best fighter he can.
“What is important is that I continue to grow every day,” he said. “People could come up to me and worship the ground I walk on and I could say, ‘Hey, I’ve done this and I’ve done that.’ But the only thing I’m focused on is what can I do better and what I’m going to do.
“What really is important to me and really means something to me is that I continue to grow every day. Regardless of what people think of me whether it’s great or whether it’s bad or what I’ve done in my past, it really has no effect on how I train or my attitude toward myself. My only concern I have is that I want to get better.”
That kind of grounded thinking has likely contributed to Alvarez’s current win streak, which stretches over seven fights and two years. On Saturday, he’ll try to beat back another guy who’s just as thirsty as he for excellence inside the cage.
But is he as afraid to lose?
“I don’t believe Michael is going to bring anything I haven’t seen before, but you don’t know until you get in there,” Alvarez said. “He’s got a right hand, a left hand, two legs and a head. He’s a human being just like anyone else I’ve fought, so he definitely has the ability to beat me.”

by Steven Marrocco  – MMAJUNKIE

Eddie Alvarez (right) versus Michael Chandler (left) is set for Bellator 54. | Photo: Keith Mills

A date has been finalized for Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez‘s next title defense, as Season 4 tournament winner Michael Chandler will vie for the champ’s belt Oct. 15 at Bellator 54.

The Chicago-based promotion announced news of the bout Thursday, also revealing that Bellator 54 will go down from the Boardwalk Hall Ballroom in Atlantic City, N.J.

Alvarez has looked razor sharp in his last several outings, rattling off seven consecutive wins since joining Bellator in 2009. After winning the promotion’s inaugural lightweight tournament to become its first 155-pound champ, the Philadelphia Fight Factory export successfully navigated his way through a pair of non-title super-fights before retaining his  title against Pat Curran in his most recent effort at Bellator 39 in April.

“I watched the [Season 4] lightweight tournament very closely and was really impressed with a lot of the competition,” Alvarez said in the official release. “Knowing that Chandler is my opponent, I’ve already gone back and started to watch film, and I’ll be ready. He brings a really good pace, and it’s going to be a great fight.”

Undefeated through eight pro bouts, Chandler has posted five-straight wins inside Bellator’s circular cage. “The Brute” used powerful takedowns and effective ground-and-pound to take home the fourth-season tournament crown, first submitting Marcin Held before outpointing Lloyd Woodard and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, respectively.

“Eddie is obviously a world class lightweight, but in a lot of the fights I have watched, no one has really pushed the pace against him,” said Chandler in a statement. “I want to put him on his heels and make him respond to what I’m doing in the cage. I’ve got a few months to prepare, and I’ll be more than ready for Oct. 15.”

Michael Chandler (above) likes his chances against
Eddie Alvarez. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.

Michael Chandler dove headfirst into the world of mixed  martial arts from the wrestling mats of the University of Missouri. In two short years, he was able to earn his
way into Bellator Fighting Championships’ fourth-season lightweight tournament. Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J., Chandler firmly engraved his name into
the minds of MMA fans as he laid a beat down on favorite Patricky “Pitbull” Freire to claim the tourney title and a shot at reigning Bellator 155-pound champ Eddie Alvarez.

Chandler’s drive toward MMA was strong: the High Ridge, Mo., native began his fighting career before even completing his undergraduate studies at Missouri.

“I started getting into MMA in my junior year,” Chandler told Sherdog.com on Saturday. “I was blessed to have good guys in my life like Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren.”

Woodley was especially instrumental in Chandler’s growth as a mixed martial artist. In late 2009, the Strikeforce welterweight was able to secure Chandler two
fights in his home promotion; Chandler won both decisively, earning a TKO in the first and a rear-naked choke submission in the second.

After signing with Bellator, Chandler made the decision to train full-time with Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. True to form, once his choice was made, Chandler invested himself completely.

“It was the best decision I’ve made thus far,” Chandler said. “I realized I wanted to fight full time, so I threw everything in my car for Las Vegas. I needed that structure like I had gotten in
the past five years in college wrestling. I can get a workout 24 hours a day, whenever I want, at the best gym in the world for a lightweight.”

His training with striking coach Gil Martinez was particularly evident in Saturday’s fight with Freire, as Chandler displayed improved hands and was able to outstrike the dangerous Brazilian.
Friere had turned his last opponent, Toby Imada, into a walking zombie with a brutal flying knee and Chandler was aware of the dangers posed by the “Pitbull.”

“He definitely hit me a couple of times. He does have some power. I think he punched me in my eye,” Chandler smiled, wincing through his swollen-shut left eye.

Martinez developed a sharp boxing  gameplan with Chandler, emphasizing footwork and speed to keep Friere away from the former Mizzou Tiger.

“We worked a lot of movement and in-and-out. We worked on keeping that jab long and keeping that hook long. I wanted to keep the distance between him and I,” Chandler said.

Chandler simply had too many weapons for Friere to handle.

In the last round of their encounter, Chandler was able to secure a takedown, which served as the final blow to Friere. The wrestler rained down elbows and punches onto his opponent until he felt his Freire begin to give.

“I got the takedown in the third and I wanted to break him. I think he was heading that way. I’ve competed so much in combat sports that you now when someone is broken. You know when someone doesn’t want to win anymore.
I wanted this tournament title,” he said.

Chandler’s first remarks in the post-fight news conference after defeating Friere were words of humility and thankfulness. For Chandler, family comes first and he does not forget where he came from or how
important his family is to his continued success.

“It’s not very often you see someone who has family and friends who are willing to travel around the country,” he commented. Certainly these family values are central to Chandler not only as a
fighter, but also as a person. He acknowledges the bright spotlight that could come with a lightweight title and his potential stardom as his young career begins to unfold.

“I knew that people didn’t know my name going into this tournament. Now, hopefully, some people do,” said Chandler. “I’ll be put on a platform to reach a lot of people and I want to
carry myself the right way.”

His upcoming title fight with Alvarez, whom Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney calls “the best 155-pound fighter in the world,” represents Chandler’s most
formidable challenge to date.

Though Chandler dealt with a dangerous striker in Friere, he will have an entirely different challenge with Alvarez, whose speed and boxing ability rank among the best in the lightweight division. The Philadelphian is also known for his relentless pace over the course of five rounds, a distance Chandler has never faced in his career.

Not shockingly, Chandler is undaunted by the new challenge ahead of him and is confident in his trainers at Xtreme Couture. He was excited to see the fruits of his hard work in the gym pay off against Friere. After a relatively short amount of time training, the 25-year-old has already achieved quite a bit in such an unforgiving sport. Much like the previous challenges he has faced, Chandler has  no fear of Alvarez and insists he will not be intimidated by the champion.

“A lot of people have been a little bit scared of Eddie. I’m in the cage with Gray Maynard a couple times a week. I’m training with guys like that. I’m kind of a grinder and brawler by nature. That is what wrestling
has made me,” said Chandler.

Like a true wrestler, Chandler noted that hard work and dedication will be the key to dethroning the champ.

“I know I’m going to be training my butt off. We’re going to go into those championship rounds and see if Eddie can hang with us,” Chandler said, before adding a bit of swagger and bravado regarding his chances against Alvarez.

“I think in four months, I will match up extremely well. I’m going to come at him,” Chandler said, smiling. “You guys better not blink for 25 minutes.”

The brief – but brilliant – start to Michael Chandler’s professional mixed martial arts career intensifies on Saturday.

Chandler has earned the pro fight of his young life, and it will be televised live on cable television for any and all to see.

Xtreme Couture fighter, Michael Chandler will face Patricky “Pitbull” Freire for the Bellator 44 lightweight tournament championship, which takes place Saturday at the Ceasar’s Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. The winner earns not only a six-figure paycheck, but a shot at Eddie Alvarez’s Bellator lightweight championship belt.

There certainly will be plenty of rooting for Chandler in Jefferson County. Chandler, 25, is a 2004 graduate of Northwest where he was a four-year standout wrestler.

“We will all be watching our boy,” said Ron Wilhelm, who, along with twin, Bob, coached Chandler at Northwest.

The Lions are long-known for having standout grapplers, and Chandler goes down as one of, if not the toughest of the tough.

“He’s the hardest worker we’ve had come through our program,” Northwest coach Ron Wilhelm said. “Off the mat, he’s one of the classiest, neatest young men you could meet. On the mat, mean as a rattlesnake.”

When it comes to taking the next step in his athletic life, Chandler has developed at every level in his athletic life.

Though there is no denying his prep achievements, he never won a state championship, finishing runner-up his senior season. He then walked on at the University of Missouri and parlayed that opportunity into an outstanding collegiate career. He became only the 16th University Missouri wrestler to earn a slot in the century club for wins (100-40 overall). Chandler earned runner-up honors in the 2008 and 2009 Big XII Championships and was awarded automatic bids to three of the four NCAA tournaments he competed in. He was a two-year captain and Division I All-American. But after a year as an assistant coach at Missouri, Chandler set his laser-beam focus on mixed martial arts.

Now Chandler is living and training at the epicenter of the MMA world, especially for a gifted finely-tuned wrestler. Chandler is part of the Extreme Couture fighting team in Las Vegas. The Couture in the title is in reference to Randy Couture, a living legend and a borderline demigod in the sport.

“Just walking into a gym with (Couture’s) name on it, you know there is going to be a certain standard,” Chandler said. “There are no easy days and there is no slacking.”

Couture’s gym is populated with a virtual who’s who of the sport, most of which with deep fighting contracts with the Ultimate Fighting Championships, by far the top and most popular organization in mixed martial arts. At any given time, Chandler can look around and spot uber-popular fighter Forrest Griffin wailing away on thai pads or another legend, Vitor Belfort working on his ground game. Chandler often spars with Gray Meynard, who is scheduled to fight for the UFC lightweight championship.

Chandler, who lives in Las Vegas with his younger brother Eric, has more than held his own in lion’s den. And in mixed martial arts, a sport that is progressing athletically at an alarming rate, you can’t be a one trick pony. While Chandler is suffocating and dominant on the ground, he has to be equally adapt at throwing (and defending) any and all types of punches and kicks as well as not making himself vulnerable to submissions.

Gil Martinez is the head striking coach Extreme Couture. Like anyone who has crossed paths with Chandler, Martinez is blown away by the drive, motor and bottomless tank that comes with the package.

“Its hard for Mike to please himself,” Martinez said. “You don’t find kids his age with that determination and have that kind of attitude about the fight game.”

But it is also Chandler’s thirst to evolve that has the coaches buzzing.

“The kid is like a sponge,” Martinez said. “He has made great strides with his hands. He’s barely touching the surface of his talent. Once he puts it together he will be a force to reckon with.”

Though now he is competing under the bright lights of Vegas and Atlantic City, Chandler’s heart and mind is never far from home. He often calls Wilhelm after his fights.

“I will always be announced as, by way of High Ridge,” Chandler said. “That is where it all started. That is why I am the fighter I am today.”

Chandler still grins about how he managed to make it onto the varsity wrestling team as a freshman and there he was with the likes of Northwest notables Ray Fleig, Nick Reeves, Nick Nelson, and Justin Crammer.

“Those were the guys who you were afraid to talk to but aspired to be,” Chandler said. “The atmosphere at Northwest was the best. It was work hard and have fun. Coach would make you smile then make you run. I love that sweet and sour mix.”

It would be hard for any fighter not to admit of dreams of fighting for the UFC. The organization recently packed 55,000 people in Toronto to set a North American attendance record for the sport. But for a fighter just getting his feet wet, Bellator has been a perfect fit for Chandler. Saturday will mark his third fight since March 12.

“I’m still a young fighter and there is no reason to rush it when there are different avenues,” he said. “I know I will be the best in the world at some point.”

What happens on Saturday will help put Chandler on the fast track to that goal.

Against Freire, Chandler will likely be considered the underdog. Freire – an expert in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – is being hyped heavily by the organization and has won in spectacular fashion in the Bellator tournament.

But to no surprise, Chandler and Martinez love their chances.

“I don’t talk much about game plans,” Martinez said. “But we plan on putting (Freire) in some uncomfortable situations.”

Chandler’s grinder mentality and fortitude is the perfect antidote to Martinez.

“I just want to push the pace but keep composed,” Chandler said. “At the end of the day I don’t want to squeak by.”

By Brett Auten | STLhighschoolsports.com

Xtreme Couture’s Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron punched his ticket to the Bellator Welterweight Tournament finals with a tough-fought decision win over a game Brent Weedman.  Hieron is an extremely tough guy who doesn’t mind mixing it up with anyone.   With the win, Hieron now meets Olympian Rick Hawn in next month’s tourney finale.  Hieron (21-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC) now has won nine consecutive fights.

Xtreme Couture’s Mike Chandler dominated his way to victory on Saturday night.  The former University of Missouri wrestler’s takedown and ground skills have led him to another victory and a ticket to the lightweight tourney’s finale. Using his improved and fearless striking to set up at least four takedowns in each frame, Chandler dominated the first and third rounds to earn a unanimous-decision victory over fellow semifinalist Lloyd Woodard via scores of 29-28. With his victory, Chandler now meets KO artist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in the tourney finale next month.

MAIN CARD

  • Champ Ben Askren vs. Nick Thompson (non-title bout)
  • Jay Hieron vs. Brent Weedman (welterweight-tourney semifinal)
  • Michael Chandler vs. Llyod Woodard (lightweight-tourney semifinal)

PRELIMINARY CARD

  • Nate James vs. Tyler Stinson
  • Josh Burns vs. Eric Prindle
  • David Rickles vs. Dylan Smith
  • Cody Carrillo vs. Michael Osborn

Bellator 40 takes place April 9 at First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla. and is broadcast on MTV2

Xtreme Co-Main Event  

Brent Weedman (18-5-1) vs. Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron (20-4-0)

Brent Weedman is a good fighter, and he took out a fighter in Dan Hornbuckle that I thought he would not be able to beat. The truth is that Dan has not been the same fighter that he was over in Japan where he was knocking out fighters and finishing fights. Brent’s only ever loss to tough fighters, but that is where his fault lies as Jay is one extremely tough fighter.

Jay Hieron an established top dog at Xtreme Couture MMA in Las Vegas has always been a fighter with the ability to be a champion, but he never had the chance. The IFL failed, Affliction went under, and Strikeforce never followed through with their promise. He has just had bad luck. He entered this tournament with one thing in mind being a champion and that is all that he is focused on.

The Bottom Line: Jay Hieron is too focused to lose.

Xtreme Fight #2

Lloyd “Cupcake” Woodard (11-0-0) vs. Michael Chandler (6-0-0)

The strengths for Michael in this fight re his wrestling, his hands, and his submission. Obviously, in the first round of this tournament you saw him submit a strong BJJ fighter in Marcien Held, but he also got caught in multiple submissions. If someone was able to hold onto a submission they caught him in it would stop him. He has strong hands, but so does Lloyd.

Lloyd has big knockout power as seen in his first fight too. He also has a strong BJJ base since he has submitted more people than he has finished with strikes. The big remaining factor is the wrestling. We know that Michael can get Lloyd down.  Look for this fight to be wild as either fighter could pull out something that would surprise everyone.

Xtreme Couture’s Michael Chandler Confirmed for Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament
Bellator Fighting Championships confirmed the addition of undefeated Bellator veteran Michael Chandler to its upcoming Season 4 Lightweight Tournament, airing LIVE on MTV2 starting March 5th. With a pair of impressive wins under the Bellator banner in 2010, Chandler’s opponents have never made past the second round, as the Missouri native is a perfect 5-0 in his professional career with all of his victories coming by way of (T)KO or submission. Watch Chandler knock out Scott Stapp here: http://bit.ly/hoeLyR           

Michael Chandler (5-0) is scheduled to fight Patricky “Pitbull”Freire (7-1)

“Mike was very impressive at Bellator 31 and 32, finishing both  opponents in the first round.  He’s got extreme strength and power for a Lightweight and  I’m excited to see how far he can go in this tournament LIVE on MTV2,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney.

Training alongside UFC lightweight title challenger Gray Maynard and Bellator welterweight Jay Hieron at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, the former Division I All American is ready to break the mold of many wrestlers who have transitioned to MMA.

“I never want to be known as the typical “lay and pray” wrestler,” said Chandler. “I want to break away from the traditional wrestling mold that a lot of guys have. People say that all wrestlers just want to take their opponents down and lay on them for three rounds, but I want to go out there and finish them. I don’t want to just go out there and win, I want to go out there and dominate.”

Undefeated at 5-0, Chandler has been completely dominant up to this point in his career, and will look to continue his impressive run when the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament kicks off in March. Not only is a huge $100,000 payday on the line for the fast-rising 24-year-old lightweight, but the chance to face current Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez has been Chandler’s goal since the day he signed with Bellator.

“I’ve had my eyes set on capturing that Bellator World Lightweight Championship since the moment I signed with Bellator,” Chandler said. “It’s not to take away from anybody or that I just think I’m going to smash all of these guys on my way to [Eddie] Alvarez, it’s just that I’m really excited about the journey I’m about to go through. I’m excited about the next three months of training, and I’m excited about being able to go out there and dominate fight after fight. This is the opportunity of a lifetime in a young fighter’s career.”

by Bellator.com