Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko: What We Learned from the Catchweight Bout

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2014

USA Today

Bellator 120 saw a plethora of stars compete on its inaugural pay-per-view card, but former UFC champion Tito Ortiz was one of the biggest names on the card. In his fight, he took on Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko in the light heavyweight division.

The fight was interesting because Ortiz is a large light heavyweight and Shlemenko is a small middleweight. When it was all said and done on Saturday, Ortiz choked out the Russian with an arm-triangle choke.

What did we learn from this fight? Let's take a look.


What We'll Remember About This Fight

The size difference. Ortiz looked like he was well over 50 pounds heavier than Shlemenko in this fight. It was a David and Goliath fight. If Goliath was over the hill and fought a guy who should have been two weight classes lower.

The submission was solid technically, but the fact Bellator put this fight on was almost embarrassing. It built up a star of the past at the expense of a star of the immediate future.


What We Learned About Ortiz

We learned that Ortiz may have found his place in Bellator. Bellator is a place where prospects go to live and legends go to extend their lives, and Ortiz did the latter.

Where he goes from here is unknown. However, his win kept him away from permanent retirement.


What We Learned About Shlemenko

Shlemenko should stay in his normal weight class. He is a small middleweight who could be fighting at welterweight. He fought at light heavyweight and got choked out.

It was unfortunate that he was reduced to a bout like this, but being on the pay-per-view was necessary for him.  


What's Next for Ortiz?

Ortiz doesn't really have a lot of options because I don't think they would put him in a tournament. However, high-profile fights are here for him throughout his Bellator stay.

Whoever loses the Rampage Jackson vs. King Mo Lawal fight would be a great opponent for Ortiz. It would be a large name who could draw eyes when paired with Ortiz.


What's Next for Shlemenko?

It's back to the middleweight division for Shlemenko. He is basically waiting for the middleweight tournament winner to fight.

The winner of Brandon Halsey vs. Brett Cooper needs to be settled. The winner should fight the Russian next.