Eddie Alvarez is making a big switch…
The 30-year-old half-Puerto Rican mixed martial artist is joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Bellator MMA president Scott Coker has confirmed to ESPN.com the promotion has granted the two-time and former Bellator Lightweight Champion his unconditional release.
Later UFC president Dana White announced via Twitter that Alvarez had signed with the UFC and will fight Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC 178 on September 27 in Las Vegas.
Cerrone (24-6) was previously scheduled to fight Bobby Green on the same date, but switches to Alvarez instead.
Alvarez (25-3) vacates Bellator’s 155-pound title, which he won in a split decision victory against Michael Chandler at Bellator 106 in November. The company has no future matching rights on Alvarez, according to Coker.
“We granted Eddie his unconditional release this morning,” Coker told ESPN.com. “Eddie is free to explore the free-agent market. We wish him the best in the future.”
Alvarez, who appeared in the inaugural Bellator event in April 2009 and won the title later that year, provided the following statement to ESPN.com via text message.
“This was a long process but it’s a decision that everyone seems happy with,” Alvarez said. “I think it’s important to say that I am genuinely thankful for the time at Bellator. I know that sounds a little crazy given everything I went through, but I’ve fought there since 2009 and have been involved in some really amazing fights.
“The staff there always treated me great and I’m going to miss seeing a lot of those familiar faces around for sure. Myself and my team had some really good discussions with Scott, but in my heart I knew I was ready to move on and start the next chapter of my career.”