Bellator’s attempted foray into the world of pay-per-view hasn’t been met without resistance from the MMA injury Gods. Their first attempt at PPV, Bellator 106, was sent back to SPIKE TV after Tito Ortiz was pulled from the event one week before air time due to a neck injury. Chandler vs. Alvarez II would be promoted to the main event and the final result would be the same as their first meeting – magical.
It only made sense on paper (that paper being the contract of Eddie Alvarez) to give Alvarez and Chandler main event status for Bellator’s second attempt at a PPV. After all, this is a match up that’s already being dubbed as the best trilogy in MMA history before it’s completion – and rightfully so. Alvarez and Chandler could place a picnic table in the middle of the cage, whip up some PB & J sandwiches, do some arm wrestling and/or thumb wars, and it’d still go down as the best trilogy in the sports relatively young history due to the absurd and beautifully violent pace of their first two fights.
Unfortunately, just one week ago, Eddie Alvarez would suffer a concussion in training that would force him to drop out of his highly anticipated third duel with Chandler. The only thing that would’ve been worse than this fight not happening this weekend would’ve been Alvarez going through with it after his untimely injury. We all wish Eddie a speedy recovery and look forward to this bout finally coming to fruition.
Bellator was already going to have a tough time pulling in numbers with Alvarez-Chandler III as a headliner. Why? People simply don’t like paying for something that they’ve gotten for free for the last 119 events. That, and MMA fans aren’t really looking to throw down 45 dollars on anything without the following three letters – U-F-C. Put forward a card worthy of the loot though and they will come. While this one may or may not be worth your money, it’s still worth your time. Let’s take a closer look at Bellator 120 ‘Rampage vs. King Mo’ below.
• Light Heavyweight Tournament Final: ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs. ‘King Mo’ Lawal
The last time Rampage headlined PPV was UFC 135 against Jon Jones back in 2011. After a couple of losses to finish out his UFC contract, and a rebirth of sorts as a Bellator fighter on SPIKE, one of the most recognizable faces will be front and center this Saturday night when he takes on former Strikeforce light heavyweight kingpin King Mo Lawal.
While the build up to this grudge match has come off about as scripted as an episode of ‘Days of our Lives’ at times, make no mistake about it – both of these guys want to win. King Mo is the younger fighter who has fought half the amount of times professionally. Still, Rampage has looked to be the quicker more explosive fighter on the feet. His boxing is more technical and his stellar takedown defense against the NCAA Division I standout will dictate where the fight ends up.
I believe Rampage will control the pace of this fight and the fans will be treated to a slug it out stand up war that will not go the distance. Jackson will score his third consecutive Bellator KO/TKO finish against an ultra tough opponent in King Mo who has been put in favorable position after favorable position to get that Bellator gold since his debut with the promotion just last year at Bellator 86, but has yet to deliver.
• Interim Lightweight Title: Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks
We’ve watched Will Brooks go from a young and exciting prospect to a legitimate top Bellator lightweight. He now faces the toughest test of his career in the form of former lightweight champ and a likely pissed off Michael Chandler. We all know Chandler has been preparing for the fight of his life against Eddie Alvarez. Now he takes on a guy in Brooks who has absolutely nothing to lose.
This is a great test for Brooks to see where he stands and what he’ll have to work on going forward in what will be a fantastic career. I just don’t see him lasting very long against Chandler. This guy is a certified Lethal Weapon who should have no problem getting in and out of this one without breaking a sweat. Chandler via TKO.
• Light Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Shlemenko vs. Tito Ortiz
Shlemenko is the most exciting fighter that too many MMA fans still haven’t heard about. Is Ortiz doing him a favor here by agreeing to take a loss to him on a PPV that not a whole lot of folks are going to see? I’d believe that if it were even necessary.
While Ortiz may be the UFC Hall of Fame legend, Shlemenko is by far the better fighter here. It’s been nearly a decade since Tito has been relevant as a PPV draw. And it’s been nearly three years since his finish of Ryan Bader. Shlemenko has gone 11-0 since then. Tito’s last win before Bader was over Ken Shamrock in 2006. Shlemenko has gone 28-2 since then.
Shlemenko shouldn’t have an issue here against Ortiz. The only question will be whether or not the relentless Russian will show Ortiz mercy. Shlemenko via liver shot TKO.
• Heavyweight Tournament Final: Alexander Volkov vs. Blagoi Ivanov
This is the fight I’m looking forward to the most on this card. Volkov has become a star during his run in Bellator but on Saturday night we will see Ivanov earn what he’s been destined for – a shot at MMA gold. I like Volkov standing but I like Ivanov even more on the ground. I believe the fight gets there early and ends there late. Ivanov via TKO.
• Welterweight Bout: Michael Page vs. Ricky Rainey
Bellator is looking to showcase the unorthodox Page here to kick of their inaugural PPV. He’ll have his toughest test to date in the battle tested Rainey, who will be looking for Page to get cute and make a mistake. Page is just as smart as he is freakishly talented though and he’ll pick his spots en route to another extraordinary finish. Page via one of the greatest PPV finishes in MMA history.