Chandler holds two victories over Patricky
Freire, who is the elder brother of Bellator featherweight
Freire. That will make the bout a more personal affair as
Freire moves up to 155 in order to challenge for the belt held by
The buildup to this superfight has been intense, so expect the two
champions to come out guns ablaze when they meet at
Bellator 221. Let these career-defining moments show why “Iron”
is one of the greatest the promotion has ever seen.
Explosive lightweight debut
After a sterling amateur wrestling career, Chandler transitioned
into mixed martial arts by training at Xtreme Couture. He debuted
as a welterweight opposite Kyle
Swadley in an event called First Blood and won via TKO.
Chandler remained at 170 until his third Bellator fight where he
was pitted against Marcin Held
in the opening round of the Bellator lightweight tournament. Then a
teenager with a 10-1 record, the Polish welterweight was enjoying
an intense hype behind him, but Chandler managed to submit him via
arm triangle in the first round.
Following the victory over Held, Chandler met an undefeated
prospect in Lloyd
Woodard. “Iron” used his superior wrestling to force a decision
win and move to the finals opposite Patricky
Freire, who had previously breezed through Rob
McCullough and Toby Imada.
Still banking on his trusty wrestling aptitude, Chandler grinded
out Freire on his way to taking a unanimous decision victory as
well as the tournament title at Bellator 44.
Winning the Bellator lightweight tournament made him $100,000
richer and afforded him the opportunity to challenge for the belt
held by Eddie
Alvarez. In the title fight at Bellator 58, an aggressive
Chandler forced a rear-naked choke finish in the fourth round. The
Missouri native would impressively defend the title against
Hawn and David
Rickels before crossing paths with Alvarez for the second time.
Their rematch at Bellator 106 was a landmark battle that saw
Alvarez reclaim his belt.
Regaining the title
Alvarez moved to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, so he had to
vacate the Bellator lightweight strap. As a result, Chandler fought
Brooks two times, once for the interim belt and later for the
regular belt. However, “Iron” came up short on both occasions.
Brooks was likewise signed by the UFC, leaving the title open
vacant once again. Chandler and Freire once again fought and all it
took was one solid punch for the Missouri native to be champion
Third time’s still a charm
Chandler yet again found himself in a rematch with the title on the
line. Following a leg injury, he lost the belt via TKO to Brent
Primus at Bellator NYC. Chandler worked his way to the top of
the division again and eventually challenged the man who snatched
the title away from him. This time, he was not to be denied.
Chandler avenged his previous loss to Primus with a unanimous
decision at Bellator 212. With the victory, he became the first
three-time champion in the promotion’s history.