At the Bellator 97 fights tonight, Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz was announced as the headliner for Bellator’s Nov. 2nd PPV event. It will be interesting to see the dynamic of these two UFC superstars as they both attempt to rejuvenate their careers under a new promotion’s banner.
Both were extremely iconic fighters who, at different points in the UFC’s history, were sitting atop the light heavyweight division, and in Rampage’s case, PrideFC as well. Both fighters are coming off losses now, in the latter years of their careers. Rampage has dropped his last three fights to Jon Jones, Ryan Bader, and Glover Teixeira. Tito is also coming off three losses to Rashad Evans, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Forrest Griffin.
In Tito’s case, he had dropped four of the five fights before that as well, so in all fairness, this one looks like it’s Rampage’s to lose, not Tito’s to win. But in the sport of MMA, anything is possible. With Bellator’s insistence on utilizing a tournament format for each weight class, it’s interesting that they would choose to pit their two new stars against each other, when the opportunity to build other names through allowing a perceived higher level of talent (Ex-UFC elites) enter the tournament system, was right in front of them finally.
Everyone knows that Tito and Rampage are not adverse to starting feuds with their opponents, so it will be interesting to see how they choose to carry on together throughout all the pre-fight festivities. It’s fair to say that the winner of this one will have a nice little career in Bellator in store for him, and unfortunately the loser will probably be in the same position he was back in the UFC. That’s the sickening time in a fighter’s career when any loss could be his last one.
In the video below, Tito talks about how he became friends with Rampage before they fought in the UFC, and even trained with him at one point. He also expands on what it would take for him to fight Rampage. Interesting stuff.