Once slated to tangle with a fellow legend of the sport on the company's first pay-per-view card, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will instead make his promotional debut against UFC outcast Joey Beltran at Bellator 108.
The main-event fight between Jackson, a former UFC light heavyweight champ, and Beltran, a veteran of the UFC's light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, will unfold Nov. 15 in Atlantic City and aired live on Spike TV.
Initially tabbed to lock horns with former training partner and former UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz, Jackson will instead face Beltran, a notorious brawler who prevailed in just three of 10 UFC bouts.
Jackson's previous main-event bout with UFC Hall of Famer Ortiz at Bellator 106 got scrapped when "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" revealed that he'd suffered a neck injury Friday.
In spite of the company's radical change in plans, Rampage seemed adamant in Wednesday's press release that a bout with "The Mexicutioner" won't disappoint the masses.
I want to thank Joey Beltran for stepping up for the fight so I can get my first Bellator victory out of the way. He’ll have the unfortunate honor of taking the ass whooping I was going to give Tito.
Although Beltran and Jackson each last scored UFC wins in 2011, The Mexicutioner insisted that a fight with Rampage would signify the most significant opportunity of his career.
Getting the chance to fight Rampage is just a tremendous opportunity. This is my Rocky Balboa moment. A win against one of the best and well known fighters in the world would be an incredible accomplishment, and I’m not taking it lightly. Rampage better be prepared and ready for this fight. I’m prepared to go through hell during this fight. There will be blood. Someone is going to get hurt.
Another fighter who hadn't notched a UFC win since 2011, the 38-year-old Ortiz will have to take a backseat to a younger and healthier Beltran (31 years old), at least until his neck heels.
In the meantime, Beltran will try to regain the fire that helped him pocket a pair of "Fight of the Night" bonuses in the UFC against a 35-year-old Rampage.