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Despite fanciful headliner, Bellator 170 main card has a lot to offer



Bellator 170 will be airing tomorrow night on Spike TV with a main event fight that pits legendary MMA fighter, Tito Ortiz against another wildly popular veteran of the sport, Chael Sonnen.

Bellator, rightly so, has taken advantage, once again, of MMA fan’s ability to suspend their disbelief and tug at their heartstrings by putting on matches with big names of the sport’s past. The nostalgia of seeing Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko, Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie et al. takes priority in the lead up to the fight, and is usually followed by a sinking feeling when you watch yesterday’s greats try to perform in today’s era (see BJ Penn).

The fact that there is no competing UFC card on the same night, that it’s free on Spike, and having a mouthpiece like Chael Sonnen, that can sell a fight like few can, will propel the event the event to do very well for Bellator.

But let’s not forget, the actual fight itself will most likely be a letdown. While it may be a bit more competitive than other ‘senior circuit’ fights they’ve put on in the past, it will still be relative to where these two are currently in their lives and careers.

Ortiz, 41, has mentioned in the lead up to the fight that this is his retirement fight. After leaving the UFC in 2012, only winning one out of his last seven fights, he returned to action in Bellator beating an undersized Alexander Shlemenko, eking out a split decision against Stephan Bonnar, and getting choked out in four minutes by Liam McGeary.

Sonnen, on the other hand, has not fought in more than two years after failing two drug tests for numerous banned substances, including human growth hormone, EPO, anastrozole, and hCG, for which he served a two year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commision. Prior to his suspension, Sonnen had been 1-3 in his last four UFC fights.

With both fighters employing a wrestling-heavy style, it stands to reason that unless someone can catch a quick takedown, that the fight will be contested mostly on the feet, where neither has a clear advantage.

What really stands out for this card, though, is the skill level and intriguing matchups that round out Saturday’s main card.

In the co-main event, two powerful welterweight strikers will take the stage as Paul Daley (38-14-2) takes on Brennan Ward (14-4). These two have a similar style, but unlike the previous example, where two wrestlers nullify each other and settle for striking, these two will more than gladly get up on each other’s space and trade looking for a KO.

Japanese fighter Hisaki Kato (7-2), known for his incredible superman punch KO over Joe Schilling two years ago, will be taking on Ralek Gracie (3-0), who is returning to MMA after a long hiatus. It will be interesting to see how Gracie performs after six plus years of being away, and to see if his BJJ can nullify Kato’s pressure offense.

Speaking of pressure, Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3), who fights out of Roufusport is a young 26 year-old that has dynamic striking, crazy but risky grappling scrambles, and a gas tank for days that allows him to keep a pace on guys for all three rounds. He will be facing an always dangerous Georgi Karakhanyan (26-6-1), the former WSOF featherweight champion, who is well rounded and experienced enough to give Sanchez a good fight.

Opening up the main card will be a fight between Derek Campos (17-6) and Derek Anderson (14-2). These two have been fighting for the promotion since 2013 and have a combined 16 fights under the Bellator banner, it’s amazing they have not met inside the cage until now.

So fret not, if you are looking for great fights this weekend, and are not sold on Chael taking jabs at Tito’s ex-wife or Tito smashing juice boxes with no context, the rest of the Bellator 170 main card will have you covered.

Bellator 170’s main card will start at 9pm Eastern from The Forum in Inglewood, California.

This article comes to you via @GavelPro

Richmond, VA by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico. A long time combat sports fan, Felix has spent years covering the regional Virginia amateur and pro MMA scene. He now shifts his focus to writing about national MMA.

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