Eddie Alvarez to make UFC debut against Donald Cerrone at UFC 178

Just a few hours after being released by Bellator MMA, Eddie Alvarez has his first UFC fight -- against Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC 178 on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas.

And your new UFC 178 co-main event is Eddie Alvarez (left) vs. Donald Cerrone.

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Well, that didn't take long.

Eddie Alvarez was released by Bellator MMA on Tuesday and now he has his first UFC fight -- against Donald Cerrone in the co-main event of UFC 178 on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas, the UFC announced. The bout was rumored last month, but last week the UFC said Cerrone would be facing Bobby Green on the card.

As it turns out, it'll be Alvarez after all. Green, who was supposed to originally fight Jorge Masvidal, will compete at a future event. Masvidal will meet James Krause at 178.

Alvarez (25-3) was initially given a contract offer by the UFC in December 2012, but Bellator had matching rights. The Viacom-owned organization said it matched the UFC's deal, but Alvarez disagreed and took Bellator to court. The messy litigation forced Alvarez out of action for almost a year until he decided to give in and sign a new deal with Bellator. But the 30-year-old Philadelphia native didn’t really want to be there and Tuesday he was granted his release by new Bellator president Scott Coker.

Alvarez is regarded as one of the best lightweights in the world and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet who has never stepped into the Octagon. That will change in September. Alvarez, who leaves Bellator as its two-time lightweight champion, has notable wins over the likes of Michael Chandler, Shinya Aoki, Pat Curran and Tatsuya Kawajiri.

Cerrone (24-6, 1 NC), a huge fan favorite, already has four victories in 2014 and wants the UFC record of fighting six times in a single year. "Cowboy" is coming off a second-round knockout of Jim Miller last month. He has fought a who's who of lightweight contenders in his illustrious career. The winner of this fight with Alvarez will be very close to a title shot. Cerrone is currently ranked No. 4 among lightweight contenders in the UFC.

UFC 178 is headlined by a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso. Previously, Jon Jones was supposed to defend his light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier until Jones injured his leg and had to pull out last week. 

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