Former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez returns to the cage this weekend for the Bellator 76 event scheduled for Ontario, Canada. He takes on Brazilian Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in a match that should see Alvarez a comfortable favorite when the lines hit the books. The match is also Alvarez’ last on a Bellator contract, and though the company will retain the ability to match any offers, Alvarez will likely be out there as a free agent, and coming off a win or coming off a loss, it makes a big difference.
Alvarez has an excellent record of 23-3 and he has fought top notch competition throughout his career. To further test himself, he may need to go to the UFC after this fight.
Freire is a decent opponent, with a 10-3 overall record and a penchant for using stomps and knees in his striking attack. Alvarez is more of a big puncher on his feet than anything else, so he will have to stay vigilant for the strikes Freire will bring.
Alvarez is a good wrestler, and may turn to GnP should Freire prove dangerous on his feet.
Though Bellator would likely benefit from an Alvarez loss, that is unlikely to happen. Alvarez is a winner, gutting out several very tough bouts for Bellator and for other groups. His level of competition is much higher. and Alvarez also is a guy who remains hungry. He wants to test the free agent market, and needs a win here to maximize his offers. He will look at it like Freire is taking food off his family’s table, and that is a bad idea with Eddie.
Freire will also bring a certain fire, but he is 1-2 in his last three outings, and does not have the motivation of a contract negotiation like Alvarez. Alvarez may be the most highly anticipated free agent in the history of MMA.
Alvarez will likely open at least a 3 to 1 favorite, and he has a very strong fan base that are likely to move that number up. So if your on the underdog, wait until closer to fight time.