Bellator 120: 5 Reasons to Watch
Bellator 120 limps to the finish line this weekend as the first pay-per-view for the company. Holding an interim title fight and numerous tournament final fights, the card maintains a solid lineup despite hiccups.
The main event between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler was scrapped due to an injury suffered by Alvarez. In his place steps Will Brooks, who will use this opportunity to try and become the interim titleholder over the former interim champion.
Also on the card is Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, who takes on Rampage Jackson. UFC veteran Tito Ortiz, meets middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko, and former Bellator champ Alexander Volkov squares off against Blagoi Ivanov.
There probably aren't a ton of reasons to watch this card because of the loss of Alvarez vs. Chandler III, but here are five reasons you should tune in anyway.
The pro wrestling-like buildup between Rampage and King Mo hasn't convinced me that this is a real beef. It just feels like a pro wrestling angle—something both men have done with TNA Impact Wrestling.
That being said, this is one of the most interesting matchups from a marketing standpoint. Jackson is a former UFC champion, and Lawal is a former Strikeforce champion, and they are two of the most popular men in the company.
The promos have a wrestling tone or even that hold-me-back-bro type of fraternity-boy feeling. Their several dustups have made this a diet Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva type of fight.
From an action standpoint, this bout should be decent. Both men like to box and throw haymakers. This will either be a good fight or an absolute dud.
No Excuses, Play Like a Champion
Tito Ortiz is renowned for making excuses after the fact. However, now that his neck issues are cleared up, and he has been medically cleared by a doctor, health cannot play a factor in winning or losing.
Ortiz, who is a large light heavyweight, takes on middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko in a fight that doesn't make a whole lot of sense but still has some eye-drawing power.
Ortiz has won once in the last six years or so. His days of wrestling guys down and beating them up are long past, though he has a big size advantage against Shlemenko.
That said, the Russian is tough, quick and explosive. Ortiz has a melon of a head that the Russian can aim at with his power strikes.
Can Ortiz return to form, or will Shlemenko's march to the top continue? We will find out.
Who Becomes the Sort-of-Champion?
First off, let me state that Bellator's use of interim titles is way loose. In the last year, the promotion has awarded two—going on three—interim titles, which, after they are won, are combined almost instantly in terms of fight time.
That is not how interim titles are supposed to be.
First, Emanuel Newton and King Mo fought for an interim title when Attila Vegh may or may not have been hurt. Following Newton's win, he had a quick turnaround and fought Vegh in a bout that should have never included an interim belt.
Then, Eduardo Dantas dropped out of his title fight with Joe Warren, and Bellator had Warren fight Rafael Silva for an interim strap. Dantas is out for psychological reasons and will likely return in the near future. So why is an interim belt up for grabs?
Now, Eddie Alvarez has a concussion that will likely only keep him out briefly, yet Michael Chandler will fight Will Brooks for the interim strap. None of this makes sense.
Interim belts are for when champions are out for an extended period of time, like a year to a year-and-a-half. That way, the titles can be defended at least once before they are unified.
It just smells of desperation on Bellator's part to have a title up for grabs that basically means nothing.
That being said, Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks will be an interesting fight. Both men can wrestle and strike.
Chandler was thought to be the titan atop Bellator's lightweight division. He was supposed to be the terminator that would clean out the division quickly.
Then the Alvarez fight struck and he lost his title. Now he has to rebuild himself against a tough guy like Brooks who will give him all he can handle.
It will be a good little scrap. You take the athleticism of Brooks and put it up against that of Chandler and you have a helluva bout.
Who will come out on top? Find out live on pay-per-view.
Former Champ vs. Former Near-Fatality
Except for Will Brooks, Alexander Volkov and Blagoi Ivanov have benefited the most from the injuries on the card outside. That is because the heavyweight tournament finals went from being on the Spike TV prelims to the actual pay-per-view.
The storyline to this tournament finale is simple: A title shot is up for grabs between the former Bellator heavyweight champion Volkov and a man who was almost a homicide statistic in Ivanov.
Ivanov's return to the sport is an amazing story that should garner him great attention. He was stabbed in Bulgaria and put into a coma, where doctors believed he would most likely die.
Miraculously, he has since returned to the sport and is now in the finals after winning two bouts in the tournament.
This fight is going to be something special. If Volkov wins, it would set up an interesting title rematch with Vitaly Minakov. If he Ivanov wins, it would be a feel-good story and draw attention to the Bellator title.
Have you heard of this dude Michael "Venom" Page? He's good. Like, really good.
A flashy British striker, he has wowed audiences in his young, undefeated career with his smooth striking, fun finishing ability and overall swag. The dude is talented but still somewhat untested.
He takes on a solid prospect in Ricky Rainey, who is also looking to boost his stock with Bellator. He is already 1-0 with the company and seeking to secure a tournament slot in the welterweight division.
If you like unorthodox striking methods and cat-like quickness, tune into this fight. Page will dazzle you with the crazy things he can do.