Alvarez was competing at Bellator 76 on the last fight of his current contract with the promotion, with all signs pointing towards a future in the UFC Octagon.
With the pressure on to perform, Alvarez came out swinging and dropped the Brazilian early on, but found himself on the wrong end of an exchange just a few moments later. Freire cracked Alvarez on the jaw and sent the former Bellator champion scrambling to recover as he literally had to run the other direction to avoid more damage after the initial shock from the shots landed.
Unfortunately for Freire that would be the high point in the fight for him because after a brief lull in action, Alvarez fired off the fight ending strike.
The Philadelphia native cracked Freire with a nasty high kick that landed flush on the head, sending the Brazilian crashing down to the mat. Alvarez swooped in for another quick strike as the referee came in to make the save and stop the fight.
Alvarez not only wins the fight, but now enters what could be a very lucrative free agency period. Following his win, UFC President Dana White tweeted at Alvarez, “Congrats bro. Let’s talk.”
Now begins the time when Alvarez will sign his next deal, and obviously the UFC is interested in the former Bellator champion making his Octagon debut.
The Bellator featherweight tournament also kicked off on Friday night with several fights ending in emphatic fashion.
Former IFL and WEC fighter Wagnney Fabiano put an exclamation mark on his fight with a quick armbar submission over Akop Stepanyan. Meanwhile, Mike Richman did his part to make a good impression with a vicious 23 second head kick knockout over Jeremy Spoon.
Shahbulat Shamhalaev punched his ticket to the next round of the featherweight tournament with a TKO victory over Cody Bollinger. Rad Martinez made his way to the next round of the tournament as well with a decision victory over Nazareno Malegarie.
FULL BELLATOR 76 RESULTS:
Eddie Alvarez def. Patricky “Pitbull” Freire by KO (head kick) at 4:54, R1
Rad Martinez def. Nazareno Malagarie by unanimous decision
Wagnney Fabiano def. Akop Stepanyan by submission (armbar) at 3:24, R1
Mike Richman def. Jeremy Spoon by KO (head kick) at 23 seconds, R1
Shahbulat Shamhalaev def. Cody Bollinger by TKO at 4:49, R1
Jason Fletcher def. Kyle Prepolec by submission (arm triangle)
Chad Laprise def. Ainsley Robinson by unanimous decision
Ali Mokdad def. Simon Marini by unanimous decision
Dom O’Grady def. A.J. Matthews by split decision
Magomedrasui Khasbulaev def. Nayeb Hezam by TKO
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