Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has answered the call out from Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, as ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ accepted the challenge live during Bellator 116. ‘Storm’ will move up to 205 pounds for the bout, which will take place on Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view event.
Ortiz is winless since his blitzing of Ryan Bader at UFC 132, and went on to drop TKOs to Rashad Evans and ‘Lil’ Nog’ before leaving the promotion on the back of a decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 148. With only one win in the last eight years, it is very much a do or die scenario for the ‘Bad Boy’.
Originally slated to face Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson last November, Ortiz was struck off the Bellator 106 card with another neck injury. Now he looks forward to facing a smaller, but still very tough opponent in Alex Shlemenko. ‘Storm’ is on a 13-fight spree at present, and the two will add to the growing number of talents on the May 17 card.
‘Rampage’ Jackson and King Mo will settle their ‘Beef’ on the main card that night, and Eddie Alvarez will face Michael Chandler in a championship rubber match at 155 pounds. UFC hall of famer Ortiz, former lhw kingpin ‘Rampage’, King Mo, Alvarez and Chandler; it seems that Bellator is really hoping to kick their PPV debut in to top gear.
BFC prez Bjorn Rebney may be throwing all his eggs in one basket at Bellator 120, but perhaps this will open the floodgates for more MMA prospects that are looking for a cut of the big money. The Landers Center in Mississippi will play host to Ortiz’s promotional debut, but it could well be the 39 year-old's last venture in the cage.