When Bellator MMA announced plans to pair former UFC champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz together in the promotions first-ever pay-per-view, they were greeted with more boos than cheers.
However, after resolving the issue with Eddie Alvarez and pairing the former lightweight champion with nemesis Michael Chandler, they may have saved face – at least a little.
Yes, Chandler-Alvarez 2 for the Bellator 155-pound title is of more importance than Jackson-Ortiz, but the two can work hand-in-hand to help each other and Bellator.
By pairing a couple of legends – I know, they are both well past their primes and riding losing streaks – with these two (and hopefully more of the same) they should be able to please the majority of MMA fans who plan to tune in.
Alvarez was nearly on his way to Las Vegas and the UFC before Bellator stepped in, matched the contract and sen the sides to court. I don’t feel like getting into whether it was a good deal, bad deal or wrong deal between the sides; Alvarez is in Bellator and he will give Chandler all he can handle.
Chandler, meanwhile, needs a stern test like Alvarez. The first meeting was an instant classic, and rivaled the Dan Henderson-Shogun Rua battle for “Fight of the Year” in 2011. Since that time, Chandler has been untouchable, running through Akihiro Gono, Rick Hawn and David Rickels – putting in just under five minutes of actual cage work.
Jackson and Ortiz bring star power, attention and headlines with them. If Chandler and Alvarez can keep up during the expected media tour, they should be able to generate plenty of interest in their fight, as well.