One of the biggest upsets of 2017 took place at Bellator NYC. It was there where Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler lost his belt to massive underdog Brent Primus. While Chandler was doing well early on in the bout, just over two minutes into the fight he suffered a terrible leg injury that forced the doctor to stop the fight. Just like that, Chandler lost the lightweight belt that he had worked so hard to win back, while Primus became one of the most surprising champions in Bellator history.
Since that unfortunate injury suffered against Primus, Chandler has bounced back nicely to re-emerge as one of the sport’s top lightweight fighters. In his return bout after the injury, Chandler went out and dominated the rising Goiti Yamauchi. That win earned Chandler a rematch against Primus, but the champ pulled out with an injury and was replaced on short notice by Brandon Girtz, who Chandler fought on Friday night in the main event of Bellator 196. In one of Chandler’s most impressive performances inside the Bellator cage to date, Chandler was able to withstand Girtz’ early strikes, take him down, and then choke him out cold with an arm-triangle choke. It was an amazing submission finish from Chandler, as he once again flashed glimpses of being the best 155lber in the world, something many considered him being back in 2011 when he shocked the world by submitting Eddie Alvarez in a classic fight at Bellator 58.
The win over Girtz upped Chandler’s pro MMA record to 18-4, including a 15-4 mark in Bellator. He has defeated the likes of the aforementioned Alvarez, Yamauchi and Girtz plus Benson Henderson, Patricky Pitbull, Marcin Held, Derek Campos and Akihiro Gono. His only losses came against Primus via injury, Will Brooks twice via controversial decision on short notice and a strange TKO loss, plus another controversial decision loss to Alvarez. Since that nasty three-fight losing streak, Chandler has won six of his last seven fights and is clearly fighting at an elite level right now, injury loss to Primus aside. Chandler holds numerous Bellator records and recently re-upped with the promotion on a new contract, so he’s likely only going to add to those numbers, especially if he wins back his belt.
It’s unfortunate that Primus pulled out of this rematch with Chandler, but hopefully the fight can be rescheduled soon. The way the first fight ended left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and only a rematch will prove who the better fighter is once and for all. While the first fight did go Primus’ way, Chandler has looked amazing in his two fights since then, not to mention the four fights prior to that. Primus, meanwhile, is still an undefeated fighter but considering the long injury layoff he’s had since the first time these two met, it actually might give Chandler an extra advantage when they meet again. The fact Chandler has gone out there and beaten his last two opponents in such dominant fashion will only give Bellator more promotional ammunition to promote the rematch. It’s the fight that makes sense and the fight that the fans want, so hopefully Bellator is finally able to book this fight, and hopefully it doesn’t become a cursed title fight like Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC.
Do you think Michael Chandler should get his rematch with Brent Primus next?