You’ve probably heard the news today that former UFC light-heavyweight Joey Beltran has stepped in to replace the injured Tito Ortiz and face Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at Bellator 108.
Whilst this is good news for Bellator as they get to put on a fight with what is probably their biggest draw, it’s bad news for us fight fans.
With a combined four wins in their last 11 fights, neither guy is exactly riding high at the moment. Nor did either guy light up the UFC, at least not in the past four and a half years since ‘Rampage’ knocked out Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92.
Beltran (14-9-0(1) MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is a known brawler, but isn’t exactly a finisher, having not finished a fight since his UFC debut in 2010.
Rampage (32-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) on the other hand is known for his vicious knockout power, but again it’s something we haven’t seen of late. You would have to go back to the above mentioned, albeit spectacular, knockout of Wanderlei Silva in 2008 for Rampage’s last finish.
With both fighters' last three wins coming by decision, it doesn’t look as though it will be a ‘balls to the wall’ fight. Then there’s the question of what happens to the winner? If Rampage wins do Bellator still do the Tito fight? And if Beltran wins, the Tito fight, for Rampage at least, wouldn’t be easy to sell.
Just imagine, for a second, Rampage was in the UFC and this fight was announced under that banner. I’m pretty sure in my mind that fans wouldn’t be queuing around the block to get in. This is why, in my opinion, Bellator, and any newer promotion for that matter, will always be one step behind the UFC.
I understand that Rampage is in shape and has gone through a whole camp preparing for a fight, so it’s good for him to be able to make his debut. My problem is that it’s a nothing fight, it has no significance to the division or Bellator.
I’ll be tuning in on Nov.15 as I would have been doing before this fight was announced, but I certainly won’t lose sleep if I somehow miss this match up.
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