In their first pay per view attempt of the organization, Bellator MMA will have to push forward with arguably their top draw out of the card. The Eddie Alvarez vs Michael Chandler Trilogy was expected to be main event on an action packed card, unfortunately Alvarez had to pull out of the fight due to a concussion. Will Brooks will replace Alvarez in short notice in what is now the co main event, against former lightweight champion, Michael Chandler. Bellator will use former UFC light heavyweight star, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal’s feud to help garner more attention as the new main event. Also on the card the promotion’s middleweight champion, Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko will take on the former UFC fighter, and now hall of fame inductee; “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz. That bout will be held at light heavyweight while the Chandler versus Brooks fight will be for the interim lightweight championship belt.
Bellator 120 will take place in Southaven, Mississippi. Prelims will kick off on Spike TV at 8 p.m. EST; while the main event will be live on pay per view at 10 p.m. EST. It’s time to look over the fights and throw in some predictions as we over analyze the main card on the first pay per view in the organization’s history.
Quinton Jackson (34-11) versus Muhammed Lawal (12-3) – Light Heavyweight Bout
Bellator sets up their first main event on a pay per view card with a grudge match, that will end in a slug fest. The two fighters have much disdain between each other, stemming back from Jackson’s days as UFC champion. All the talking aside and verbal jabs put behind them, the weigh ins are tomorrow; the score to be settled will be Saturday night. Rampage has the experience advantage and may have the better boxing then Lawal. Muhammed Lawal is the overall better fighter though, and if he can mix up his superior wrestling along with crisp combinations, he could steal this victory. Lawal in recent fights has fallen in love with his striking game and if he walks into the cage with that mindset, Rampage may proceed to end this fight quickly. The prediction is Lawal for this fight, this match up is a must win for Lawal and Jackson’s take down defense has been poor for years. Look for “King Mo” to pull out a unanimous decision victory here.
Michael Chandler (13-1) versus Will Brooks (13-1) – Interim Lightweight Title Bout
Have to admire Will Brooks to step right into the limelight and take this fight. The Alvarez vs. Chandler fight was the thriller everyone was hoping for, hopefully Brooks can provide the same kind of entertainment as the other match up would bring. Brooks is a young and growing fighter with great potential heading into the future; but Michael Chandler is one of the top lightweights in the world, and on a whole other level. Chandler will come out aggressively looking to make a statement and set up his trilogy bout he deserves against Eddie Alvarez. Even though the admiration is clear here for Brooks accepting this fight, but Chandler should have his way with Brooks, Chandler by TKO.
Tito Ortiz (16-11) versus Alexander Shlemenko (50-7) – Light Heavyweight Bout
Shlemenko is not a name many know of, but they sure will after Saturday night. This is just a bad match up for Tito Ortiz and honestly makes no sense to make. Shlemenko is one of the premier middleweight strikers in the world, if Ortiz allows “Storm” to strike at a distance and use his speed; this fight won’t go beyond the first round. Ortiz will need to get dirty with his foe and pin him up against the cage, and hope he can land a take down or two. Tito’s best days are behind him and Shlemenko is just looking to add an established name to his record, this one shouldn’t last long. Shlemenko by TKO.
Alexander Volkov (21-4) versus Blagoi Ivanov (10-0) – Heavyweight Bout
A very rare striker versus grappler match up here as Volkov will look to use his tall and long frame to keep the distance and out strike Ivanov. Ivanov will look to counter strike and come in close to land a takedown. Ivanov has been more successful with his approach, flaunting an undefeated record. Volkov is no slouch though, as he is Bellator’s former heavyweight champion. This is a number one contender fight to see who will take on heavyweight champion, Vitaly Minakov. Ivanov has faced tougher adversity in his life before, as he spent all of 2012 recovering from being stabbed. Blagoi Ivanov will walk through Volkov’s strikes and get him to the ground and finish him from there. Ivanov by submission.
Michael Page (5-0) versus Ricky Rainey (9-2) – Welterweight Bout
Both fighters have some potential heading into the cage on Saturday, but Page has the higher ceiling. Both have fought relatively unknown fighters in their careers, and both have much to prove while opening as the first fight on the main card. Rainey has been solid but Page provides that flashy striking that appeals to the casual fans. Page has finished all five opponents and the streak will continue here. Look for a solid connection to send Rainey flailing to the mat. Page by KO.
Other notable match ups on the card include former UFC heavyweight contender, Cheick Kongo takes on Eric Smith; and Marcin Held will look to submit Nate Jolly. These fights will be held on the prelim card that will be shown live on Spike TV.
Submission specialists and knock out artists, the first pay per view for Bellator may not have the big names the fans are looking for; but they sure will have all the action a typical fan craves inside the cage.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Guardian Liberty Sports Writer Leading the coverage in MMA