5 Hype Fights Bellator Should Make ASAP

Deep down, I knew Bellator 149 wouldn’t live up to the hype, but I still had to tune into Spike TV to watch it all unfold. Like many others, I was roped into tuning in by the main event between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. I was curious how Royce would fair against Shamrock without a gi and with the modern MMA rounds and scoring system. Would Gracie still be able to use his Jiu-Jitsu to overcome the size and strength advantage of Shamrock. In the end, I overlooked the possibility of Shamrock pulling a Shamrock and the match ended in a bizarre and unsatisfying manner that made me believe I was a sucker for tuning in. Regardless of the outcome, millions of viewers watched the event and advertisers paid for commercial spots to reach that coveted ‘male 18 to 34’ demographics that MMA attracts. Bellator excels at the hype machine and putting together matches that pique the interests of both the die-hard and casual fans to generate impressive television ratings. If they were to continue with this strategy of creating match ups between well-known, established fighters in the twilight of their careers, then here are a few match ups they should consider.

Rampage Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz: This match was originally set to take place at the first Bellator PPV in November 2013, but Ortiz backed out due to a neck injury.  Since that time, Jackson fought in both Bellator and the UFC and is now back in Bellator. While this fight might not be PPV worthy, it is definitely a fight that would draw the attention of both the die hard and casual MMA fans. If Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar can generate solid ratings, then this fight will definitely draw as well. Both men were UFC light heavyweight champions and were two of the most popular figures in MMA for the past 15 years. Also, their history as former training partners would help in the promotion and marketing of the fight.

Chris Leben vs Josh Koscheck: This is one rivalry that was never resolved in an official MMA fight. Both fighters were part of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike and to say they disliked each other would be an understatement. The two men verbally jabbed at each other during the show with the taunts escalating to Koscheck spraying a drunk Leben, who was sleeping on the front lawn with a garden hose. This caused Leben to go on a rampage around the house. The two finally met in a two-round exhibition match during the show, where Koscheck used his strong wrestling base to take down and control Leben for two rounds and secure the victory. I doubt it will be hard to get sound bites out of either men and there is a good chance someone will get pushed during one of their stare downs.


Kimbo Slice vs. Bobby Lashley: Take one proven draw that has headlined events on CBS, Showtime, and Spike and place him up against another man who headlined Wrestlemania and you will have a couple million MMA and pro wrestling fans tuning in to watch the freak show unfold. Even after his lackluster performance against Dada 5000, Kimbo Slice is still an attraction. We all tuned in to The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights to watch Kimbo and millions watched his fights in Bellator against Ken Shamrock and Dada 5000. Love him or hate him, we are going to watch him. Lashley, who has drawn comparison to Brock Lesnar, due to their size, college wrestling background, and WWE history, has won seven fights in a row and with six finishes and was very popular during his runs in both the WWE and TNA. Also, like Lesnar, he has the ability to draw the pro wrestling fans to MMA.

Paul Daley vs. Joe Schilling: Who doesn’t want to see a fight that will likely end in a devastating knockout. Both Daly and Schilling are dynamic strikers with professional MMA and kickboxing experience. Daley, is 38-13-1 and has won nine out of his last ten MMA fights. Schilling, has struggling in MMA with a 2-5 record, but he owns an impressive knockout victory over Melvin Manhoef and can draw in both the casual MMA and kickboxing fans. Since both men are known for their striking skills, there is a good chance we won’t be seeing too much action on the ground. This match up would make a great co-main event for a tent pole card down the road.

Melvin Manhoef vs. Houston Alexander: Here is another fight that will likely end with a knockout finish. Manhoef, who is trained in Dutch style kickboxing, has a professional MMA record of 30-12-1 with 28 wins by knockout. Alexander, who own a 16-13 record with 12 knockouts, has struggled in recent years. He is best known for finishing both Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara with quick knockouts in 2007. This would be a fight featuring two men on the downside of their careers, but both are still heavy handed with one punch knockout power.




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