Huerta and Alvarez look to put on a show tonight (Photo courtesy of Bellator).
Bellator 33 is Show’s Debut in the City of Brotherly Love
Bellator Fighting Championships will be hosted in Philadelphia for the first time ever on Thursday when Bellator 33 heads into The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University. Being co-featured in the main event will be a huge lightweight showdown between Philadelphia native and current Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez (20-2) and former UFC veteran Roger Huerta (24-4-1).
"Roger Huerta, Philadelphia, October 21st, this is a dream fight for me," Alvarez stated. "I've never even lost a fight here in the United States, so I'm definitely not going to start in my hometown of Philadelphia with all of my people there. That's not going to happen. Not a chance.”
The only two losses for Alvarez in his 22 professional fights came at the hands of Sinya Aoki in Japan and Nick Thompson in Russia. He is currently riding a fight-bout winning streak, and he has also won 10 of his last 11 matches. While a win over Huerta is his goal at Bellator 33, Alvarez went on to say that simply winning would not be good enough for him.
“My intentions will be to finish this fight, especially in my hometown,” he continued. “I want to make sure I give them what they paid for. I know I can fight. I know I'm one of the top lightweights in the world, and I know I can finish my opponents, whoever they put in front of me. I'm never going to leave the cage with any regrets.”
Huerta, who is a native of Los Angeles, does not feel that the hometown advantage of Alvarez will play much of a role in this bout.
"The cheers or jeers won't affect me one way or the other,” Huerta said. “The pressure is on him fighting in his hometown. He's going to bring the best out of me. The best. It's going to be scary.”
This highly anticipated fight comes to fruition after Bellator Season Two Lightweight Tournament Champion Pat Curran was forced to pull from a title match with Alvarez due to a shoulder tear. Curran upset Huerta in the second round of the lightweight tournament when all three judges gave him a tight 29-28 unanimous decision victory. When Curran announced his injury would prevent him for being able to battle Alvarez for the title, Bellator match makers put Huerta onto the bill.
“This is a fight that I've always wanted,” Huerta remarked. “This is a dream come true. I didn't think it was going to happen and all of a sudden, here it is. It's not for a title, but the title doesn't matter as much to me as the challenge. Eddie Alvarez brings a lot to the table. It's going to be a grueling fight for the both of us. It's going to be a potential fight of the year. I'm going in there expecting a war, and I'm going in there trying to finish Eddie.”
While Huerta may have lost three of his last four bouts against some very formidable competition, the first Mixed Martial Artist to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated only dropped one fight in his first 21 professional matches. After a run in the UFC, he signed with Bellator to prove he was still at the top of his game.
“I believe that I'm one of the very best in the world,” Huerta commented. “I just need to show up. I need to go out there and prove it. I need to be ready. The last few years have been quite a slump for me. I've a lot of issues in my personal life, but it's up to me to come back and me strong. I feel like I'm in a better place mentally than I have been for a while.”
The action tonight in the City of Brotherly gets underway at 6:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. EST. Also being featured on this loaded card is a Bellator Welterweight Championship Fight between title holder Lyman Good (10-0) and Ben Askren (6-0).