Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs. 'King' Mo Lawal: A Complete Guide to Bellator PPV

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs. 'King' Mo Lawal: A Complete Guide to Bellator PPV

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    Official Poster.

    Bellator's pay-per-view jalopy sputters towards the finish line at long last with Bellator 120 set to air this coming Saturday. The card features a good amount of appeal for both hardcore and casual MMA fans.

    Headlined by the "grudge" match between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and "King" Mo Lawal and backed up by the interim lightweight title match between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks, fans can look forward to…something.

    The loss of Eddie Alvarez still looms large over this card, and there is no getting around that. Still, there are five relatively intriguing fights on the main card, each worth talking about.

    So what do you need to know heading into this card? Find out right here!

Main Event: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. "King" Mo Lawal

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    Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

    Why It's Important

    Former Strikeforce champion "King" Mo Lawal was the guy Bellator was actively looking to move toward the title shot. When he wasn't cutting it, Bellator was quick to scoop up former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

    This bout has long been the biggest one Bellator could put together, and they have finally succeeded in doing so…with a semi-legitimate title shot on the line, no less. 

    Will It Be Good?

    The potential is there for a very fun fight, but also for an absolute drag. Jackson's violent power-punching style has always been worth watching, and Lawal has the tools to be a modern Mark Coleman. Cardio is a concern for both men, but what this fight ultimately comes down to is which iteration of Lawal shows up.

    This one could go the way of Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira, where both guys tired out early and it devolved into a sloppy, wheeze-filled wrestling match. It could go in the direction of Jackson vs. Ryan Bader, where his only defense to the wrestler's takedowns were complaints. It may be Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell, where "Rampage" punches the other guy so hard it starts the death-spiral to his career and signals that the other guy is no longer cut out for modern MMA.

    How Will the Fight Go?

    Lawal, as he has been doing a lot lately, will get overly confident in his striking. That will allow Jackson to outbox him with little trouble and wound him a few times en route to a handy unanimous-decision win.

Co-Main Event: Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Why It's Important

    In case you missed it, Eddie Alvarez was forced to withdraw from the main event of this card, setting off a wacky series of events that ultimately made Jackson vs. Lawal the main event and transformed this fight into an interim title fight between Chandler and season 9 tournament winner "Ill" Will Brooks. 

    This is by far the most important bout on the card because of Chandler's presence. Chandler is regarded as one of the top lightweights in MMA, and Bellator is heavily invested in his success to the point where he is their most-pushed poster boy. Not only that, but Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler 3 remains by far the most intriguing "real" fight Bellator can put on.

    They are taking on a huge risk here by having Chandler take a fight that could potentially make that bout an impossibility. Not only that, but if Chandler posts back-to-back losses, that will put the fighter they are most invested in into a position where his status as an elite fighter will be called into question. 

    Will It Be Good?

    Probably. Brooks is very stylistically similar to Chandler, who is also an exciting fighter to watch. Both fighters are fast, fun and have all-over-the-cage skills. It's a fight that is intriguing in the same way Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson was.  

    How Will the Fight Go?

    Chandler will get pushed, but he will probably be able to control the majority of the fight. He will likely be able to either finish Brooks late or beat him by decision in convincing fashion.

Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko

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    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

    Why It's Important

    Alexander Shlemenko is one of Bellator's highest-regarded champions these days. He is a technically marvelous striker and is one of the fighters that made punches to the body vogue with his brutal finish of Maiquel Falcao last year. He is also one of the few characters on Bellator's roster, taking on the same sort of "stoic Russian killing machine" persona that made Fedor Emelianenko so mystifying (even though he's really a well-adjusted family man).

    That said, he takes on a deceptively dangerous fight here in Tito Ortiz. Ortiz is another past-his-prime former Zuffa champion Bellator brought in as a shake-and-bake star. Make no mistake, though. He is a formidable wrestler who has been in the MMA game for a good 17 years now.

    If Ortiz (at 39 years old, with chronic injury problems) can pull off the upset with his veteran skills, we will likely hear Bellator's resident bald man yelp "d'oh!" from the stands.

    Will It Be Good?

    There will be a lot of intrigue. Shlemenko is technically brilliant, and it's hard not to be at least a tad curious about whether or not Tito Ortiz has anything in the tank at this point. The fight itself, though, will probably actually end up being pretty bad.

    How Will the Fight Go?

    That's a tough call. Tougher than it should be.

    Shlemenko is an undersized middleweight and is a very undersized light heavyweight. It's a question of how good the cardio and takedowns of the 39-year-old Ortiz are that will decide this fight.

    If they're good, Ortiz will win by decision. If not, Shlemenko will likely batter him with strikes en route to a TKO win in the second or third.

Blagoy Ivanov vs. Alexander Volkov

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    Why It's Important

    A tournament final, this one has a pre-installed level of importance based simply on the fact that the winner gets a title shot opposite Vitaly Minakov. Ivanov and Volkov are legitimate talents, and in Bellator's woefully shallow heavyweight division, that counts for a lot.

    Will It Be Good?

    In all likelihood, it will be pretty good. This is a prototypical striker vs. grappler bout, so it is ultimately a question of how well they can neutralize each other or match the other's skills. There's a fair chance this might end up being a clinch-fest, but it could also be two guys going full-on "Rambo."

    How Will the Fight Go?

    Ivanov will probably be able to control the general pace of the fight. If he can get it to the ground, Volkov will be very susceptible to his dynamic submissions.

Michael Page vs. Ricky Rainey

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    Why It's Important

    Back in 2012, British kickboxer Michael Page was all over the message boards following his cyclone-kick knockout at UCMMA 26. The early success got him love from various promotions, most notably Bellator and the SFL. He won three fights between the two promotions but hasn't been in the cage since April of last year.

    He remains an interesting prospect, but it's unclear what his role in Bellator will be for the foreseeable future.

    Will It Be Good?

    Page is a very flashy striker, but it's unclear if he'd be able to ply his kickboxing game on an experienced opponent, particularly a grappler. That's why they chose Ricky Rainey to be his opponent. Rainey is another striker who will almost certainly stand and trade with Page.  

    It's a fight in the same niche as Erik Koch vs. Daron Cruickshank—flashy strikers who will throw flashy strikes at each other until one of them gets knocked out.

    How Will the Fight Go?

    Somebody will probably get knocked out, and Page owns the more diverse arsenal. He will likely get the better of Rainey, but that certainly isn't guaranteed.