Top lightweight competitor Eddie Alvarez will be one of the cornerstones of the Bellator Fighting Championship’s lightweight division. Alvarez informed the website on Tuesday that he has signed a deal with Bellator.

“The contract is signed and I got my advance,” he is quoted as telling the site.

Bellator will be conducting a 12-week fight series for television partner ESPN Deportes starting in April with tournaments scheduled to crown new champions in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight divisions. reported on Monday that EliteXC bantamweight champion Wilson Reis is expected to sign with the promotion as one of its top stars.

Before debuting for Bellator in April, Alvarez is slated to fight for his manager, Monte Cox, during an Extreme Challenge event on Jan. 23 in Atlantic City, N.J. at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino against an unnamed opponent.

The Philadelphia native most recently competed in DREAM’s lightweight Grand Prix and qualified for the finals after going 3-0 in the tournament. However, Alvarez was denied an opportunity to take home the Grand Prix title after a cut prevented him from competing in the final against Shinya Aoki.

Joachim Hansen, who Alvarez had defeated in the quarterfinals, replaced Alvarez after winning a tournament reserve match, was declared the champion after TKO’ing Aoki in the first round.

Alvarez, 15-1, is a former BodogFIGHT welterweight champion and is contracted to EliteXC. However, because Alvarez’s primary contract is through Cox’s Adrenaline MMA promotion, he has singificantly more contractual freedom than the average fighter under contract to EliteXC.