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Mike Chandler to fight Eddie Alvarez

Bellator MMA lightweight champion Mike Chandler is set to defend his belt against the man he took it from, 29-year-old Philadelphian Eddie Alvarez, on Nov. 2 in Long Beach, Calif.

The rematch of an epic encounter from November 2011, which Chandler, 27, won by fourth-round submission, co-headlines Bellator's initial pay-per-view offering alongside a light heavyweight showcase pitting veterans Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Tito Ortiz.

Alvarez and Bellator, ever since its former champion accepted a free-agent offer from Zuffa late last year to fight in the UFC, have been embroiled in a legal battle over which promotion would house the top-10 lightweight. The deal, which reportedly included a $250,000 signing bonus and pay-per-view carve-outs, came while Bellator retained matching rights, which were promptly executed.

UFC president Dana White warned at the end of 2012 that the scuffle over Alvarez's services was "going to get ugly." Bellator MMA claimed it matched UFC's offer, a dispute arose, and both sides filed lawsuits. With a court date set for September 2014, Alvarez would have needed to sit at least two years if the case headed to trial. Meanwhile, contentious periods marked sometimes emotional negotiations, especially between Alvarez and Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney.

"This was an unpleasant situation," Rebney said. "It's good to put it behind us."

Despite flare-ups that played out in the media and what Rebney described as a "series of false starts and almosts," lines of communication were kept open throughout the process, both sides said.

"Every time we sat down to settle we got a little bit closer," Alvarez said. "It wasn't something that happened overnight. They didn't come up with a dream deal that I had to take. Both of us were compromising a bit more every time we sat down to settle. It finally got to the stage where there was enough of a compromise for both parties to be able to be happy and move forward."

Only in recent weeks -- once Bellator MMA president Tim Danaher took the roll of lead negotiator from Rebney opposite Alvarez's manager, Glenn Robinson -- was final progress made toward a settlement. Rebney, Robinson and Alvarez credited Danaher with being the force behind getting it done. Danaher was unavailable for comment.

"Eddie did get a fair deal," Robinson said. "I believe Bellator made it really easy in the end to put a good deal together."

Chandler, who recently re-upped with Bellator for eight more fights, was told over the weekend that a second tilt with Alvarez was on deck. The undefeated lightweight titleholder said he was excited for the chance to fight Alvarez again, and plans to defeat him "a whole lot quicker than" their fight of two years ago.

"There's a lot of people out there that feel the first fight was one of the best fights they've seen in their entire lives," Chandler said. "So whenever you have a fight like that, a rematch is always going to be very interesting."

Chandler (12-0) followed his fight-of-the-year effort with three dominant stoppages, including consecutive title defenses over Rick Hawn in January and David Rickels on July 31. Meanwhile, talk of a rematch between Chandler and Alvarez (24-3), which the champion labeled "easily the biggest fight in Bellator history," always lingered.

"I'm used to getting asked about him," said Chandler, who fights out of San Diego, Calif. "It's always in the media. Chandler and Alvarez, we're connected because of that epic fight we had a couple years ago."

Alvarez agreed and declared that defeating the reigning champion would "help me sleep at night."

"I'm the type of person that rarely does something wrong twice," he said. "That night wasn't my night. Come November it'll be a different story."