Popular, flamboyant and charismatic former Bodog star, Eddie Alvarez, has signed a long-term contract with Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’s live division, EliteXC, and will co-headline on Friday, Jan. 25, at Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City Hotel & Casino.
“This is another great signing for EliteXC and we’re thrilled to have Eddie with us,’’ said EliteXC Live Events President, Gary Shaw, who made the announcement today. “Eddie is definitely a promising kid with a great future, but what truly amazes me is his incredibly devoted fan base.
“He’s a phenomenon on the East Coast where he may fight on a show that draws 5,000 fans, but two-thirds of them are there to see him. He is like a rock star in some respects. In an around Philadelphia, he is as popular as Philly cheese steak and is the best thing they have going as far as mixed martial arts goes. I look forward to introducing him to the world on SHOWTIME.’’
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
A two-time high school All-American wrestler, Alvarez (11-1), of Philadelphia, will make his EliteXC debut against Hawaiian favorite Ross “Da Boss’’ Ebanez (16-5), of Hilo, Hawaii, on ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
The Alvarez-Ebanez fight, which will be contested at 170 pounds, replaces one slated to include Yves Edwards. In the other ShoXC co-feature, England’s Paul “Semtex’’ Daley (16-6-2) will meet Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-9) of Minneapolis, Minn., in a 160-pound bout.
Tickets for Jan. 25, starting at $40, are available at the Trump Taj Mahal box office and online at www.ticketmaster.com. The live card begins at 9 p.m.; doors open at 8.
In other SHOWTIME-televised fights, Bobby McMaster (8-2), of Boston, Mass., will try to regain his winning ways against the dangerous Bao Quach (11-8-1), of Irvine, Calif., at 150 pounds; “The Hawaiian Rocky Balboa,’’ Kala Kolohe Hose (4-1), of Honolulu, faces Fred Belleton (5-1), of Easton, Mass., at 185 pounds; and Julie Kedzie (9-6), of Greenwood, Ind., will attempt to make it four victories in a row when she battles Tonya Evinger (5-3), of Oak Grove, Maryland, at 140 pounds.
An explosive striker, Alvarez battled his way into MMA from the mean streets of Kensington, Pa., a blue-collar neighborhood near Philadelphia.
“Trouble seemed to find me and I wound up getting into fights on the street, so I decided to take it a little more seriously and really learn how to fight,’’ said Alvarez, who won his initial 10 MMA starts before losing his Bodog Fight welterweight title belt to Nick “The Goat” Thompson on a second-round knockout (strikes) on April 14, 2007.
Although he is not a true 170-pounder, Alvarez has coveted a rematch with his bitter rival. A return bout had been scheduled a couple times but after a February ’08 fight with Thompson fell out, a frustrated Alvarez, after weighing other offers, signed with EliteXC.
“We know Eddie wasn’t happy where he was, but I truly believe he’s found a home here with EliteXC,’’ Shaw said. “With Eddie eventually dropping down to his more natural weight class, 160 pounds, and with the fighters we have at 160, he has a chance to be a big star if he keeps winning.’’
A top-notch wrestler who can move fast, sprawl, and shoot, Alvarez is also a non-stop puncher with quick hands – he delivers uppercuts from every possible direction — quick feet and excellent head movement. He won his last start with a unanimous decision over Matt Lee on July 14, 2007. But while he dominated, Alvarez’ streak of winning inside the distance (eight knockouts, two decisions) ended.
Ebanez is a BJ Penn fighter unbeaten in his last three outings (2-0 with one no-contest) and 6-1 in his last seven (with the NC). Nicknamed “Da Boss’’ for his intimidating, aggressive style, Ebanez is an experienced, fan-friendly MMA fighter with solid skills. In his lone defeat since March ‘06, Ebanez lost to Mike Pyle on the historic EliteXC “DESTINY’’ fight card on Feb. 10, 2007, on SHOWTIME.
Scheduled non-televised Jan. 25 fights include: Zach Makovsky (3-0), of Philadelphia, vs. Wilson Reis (2-0), of Philadelphia, at 140; James “Binky’’ Jones (4-5), of Baltimore, Md., vs., Mark Getto (1-3-1), of Philadelphia, at 150; Sergio Vinagre (2-1), of New Jersey, vs. Brett Linebarger (2-1), of New Jersey, at 170; Joe Shilling (debut), of Los Angeles, vs. Matt Makowski (1-0), of Philadelphia, at 170; and Doug Gordon (6-4), of New Jersey, vs. an opponent to be determined, at 170.
The fights are scheduled for three, 5-minutes rounds with the exception of Kedzie-Evinger, which is slated for three, 3-minute rounds.
For more information on EliteXC and other MMA-related stories, including bios, video-on- demand, photos, stats, Fantasy Fight Game TM and more, please visit ProElite.com and EliteXC.com.