Bellator's inaugural pay-per-view event on Saturday night features a loaded card highlighted by what will surely be a violent showdown between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.
The promotion is pulling out its biggest guns possible, as expected. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney expects a major turnout, as captured by Bob Bakken of desototimestribune.com:
"It's going to be a packed house," he said. "The lower bowl is going to be completely packed and the upper bowl is filling up right now. It will be a packed, loud, crazy house with Rampage here coming home. The response has been unbelievable."
The card is stacked from top to bottom, but the main event is what will steal the show and potentially make the event a success from a financial standpoint. Jackson and Lawal have a lengthy history, and watching things come to a head at this stage of their careers is still worth the time investment.
Let's take a look at the details surrounding the highly anticipated event and break down the biggest fight of the night.
Where: Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi
When: 6:30 p.m. ET, Main Card at 10 p.m.
|Internet Prelims||6:30 p.m. ET|
|Austin Lyons vs. Zach Underwood||Featherweight|
|Mike Wessel vs. Justin Frazier||Heavyweight|
|Andy Uhrich vs. Ben Brewer||Welterweight|
|Andy Lemon vs. Codie Shuffied||Welterweight|
|Brian Hall vs. Cortez Phelia||bantamweight|
|Spike TV Prelims||8 p.m. ET|
|Mike Richman vs. Goiti Yamauchi||Featherweight|
|Shahbulat Shamhalaev vs. Fabricio Guerreiro||Featherweight|
|Marcin Held vs. Nate Jolly||Lightweight|
|Cheick Kongo vs. Eric Smith||Heavyweight|
|Main Card PPV||10 p.m. ET|
|Michael Page vs. Ricky Rainey||Welterweight|
|Alexander Volkov vs. Blagoi Ivanov||Heavyweight|
|Tito Ortiz vs, Alexander Shlemenko||Light Heavyweight|
|Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks||Lightweight|
|Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal||Light Heavyweight|
It's safe to say Rampage and King Mo don't like each other too much. This was apparent yet again when the two got physical at the weigh-ins for the event, as captured by MMAWeekly.com on Twitter:
While this fight is a tough sell due to both fighters being so deep into their careers, there will still be some entertaining stand-up action on display.
Make no mistake, King Mo will run away with the fight with relative ease if he takes things to the mat and wrestles. But will he?
Lawal has continued to get better with each fight after a bout with staph infections, but he has yet to put everything together in one cohesive package.
It's a battle of contrasting styles on Saturday night. Rampage was great on the mat early in his career, but his departure from UFC in part had to do with his desire to act as more of a striker. He's got a great chin, so his standing in there and hurting King Mo while upright would not come as a surprise.
As Josh Gross of DWNLA notes, it is Jackson who can save the first Bellator pay-per-view from being a disappointment:
IF Bellator avoids a disastrous PPV, they'll need to thank past prime Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz, who may still have fans that care.— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) May 10, 2014
Jackson will uphold his end of the bargain. He has not lost by TKO or KO since 2005. Lawal on the other hand has lost twice in the past four years via strikes.
Considering Jackson has not lost much power, still has a great jaw and can do much to counter Lawal's wrestling advances, expect him to score a major win and move on to face current champion, Emanuel Newton.
Prediction: Rampage wins via decision