As something a little different than what the UFC does, Bellator color commentator Jimmy Smith interviews fighters immediately after they weigh-in. That continued Friday with weigh-ins for Bellator 120.
The event marks the first pay-per-view for Bellator on Saturday night, as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson meets Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in the main event. The two rivals will be fighting for the Season 10 light heavyweight tournament title, and with it, a future shot at champion Emanuel Newton.
Jackson and Lawal had the type of staredown expected, and had to be separated after a minor push from the former UFC champion.
“Know one thing,” Jackson told the Memphis crowd. “I didn’t train to beat Mo. I trained to destroy him. It ain’t gonna last long in that cage.”
Lawal, an ex-Strikeforce champion, simply stated “the real talk is done.” In homage to his past, Lawal had an umbrella and an attractive lady with him while he weighed in.
Michael Chandler meets Will Brooks for the interim lightweight title in the co-main event. Chandler, a former champion, was expected to face Eddie Alvarez in the headline fight, but Alvarez was forced out with a head injury.
Both fighters agreed to meet on short notice, as Brooks was originally booked to face Nate Jolly.
“Hats off to him for stepping up,” Chandler said. “I am excited. We are going to put on a show for the fans and they won’t be disappointed.”
Brooks agreed, adding, “this is one of those opportunities to be brilliant. As soon as I got the phone call, I knew what this was. There is no more talking. (Saturday) night we find out.”
Another key main card fight features the return of Tito Ortiz to action, as he takes on Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko. Ortiz, who hasn’t fought since 2012, was called out by Shlemenko.
“I am 100-percent,” Ortiz said. “(Shlemenko) is the best 185-pounder in the world and I am going to show him why I am one of the best at (light heavyweight). We are going to give the fans what they want to see.”
Shlemenko, who used several “Rocky” references in the build-up, simply said, “(Saturday) night, it will be American old school vs. Russian-style” and walked away.”