We’re just three days away from one of the biggest grudge matches in the history of Bellator MMA, as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz and “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar collide at this Saturday’s Bellator 131 event in San Diego, California.
The build up to this fight has been one of the most interesting in Bellator history, right up there with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal as one that has been full of fireworks from the day that the bout was announced.
Who could forget the infamous “masked man” incident with Justin McCully at Bellator 123? Whether you thought it was fake, too gimmicky or too much like professional wrestling, the bottom line is it got people talking.
That’s good for the hype.
Whether it was staged or not, something about it set Tito Ortiz off, as anyone who has followed his career can tell he is taking this fight extremely personal.
I doubt it was the McCully garbage as much as the line about Jenna Jameson that got under Ortiz’s skin, but whatever it was, it worked.
That’s good for the fight.
Stephan Bonnar was released from his UFC contract by Dana White, specifically so White could enjoy watching Ortiz get his ass kicked. At least that’s the story both Bonnar and Ortiz are telling, and knowing White and Ortiz’s history, it seems believable.
Bonnar hasn’t competed in the cage since getting blitzed by Anderson Silva back at UFC 153 in October of 2012. After the loss, the news came out that Bonnar had failed his post-fight drug test, and the UFC Hall Of Famer subsequently retired.
Ortiz last fought at Bellator 120 in May, defeating Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko by submission in just over two minutes. The fight was also Ortiz’s first victory since upsetting Ryan Bader way back in July of 2011, a fight that at the time was his first win since scoring back-to-back wins over Ken Shamrock in 2006.
Both guys seem determined to not only win this fight, but punish their opponent, and with so much intensity and so much personal animosity between these two, this one has all the ingredients to be an excellent main event.
The same can be said when looking at the styles of each combatant. Nearly every fight Bonnar is in turns out to be a bloody mess, and The Ultimate Fighter season one finalist is more often than not involved in fights that are described as “wars.”
Despite what you think about Tito Ortiz, he’s still a dangerous man with explosive ground and pound. If he gets Bonnar to the mat, which I think he’ll be able to do, it’s only a matter of time until his trademark elbows busts open “The American Psycho.”
The Ortiz-Bonnar match is up against some stiff competition this weekend, as Bellator 131 goes head-to-head with the UFC 180 pay-per-view from Mexico City, Mexico, as well as the World Series of Fighting 15 event, which is actually a pretty underrated fight card.
While one would assume that UFC has the most stacked lineup from top-to-bottom, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that. In addition to the Ortiz-Bonnar headline attraction, Bellator 131 also features the rematch between Michael Chandler and Will Brooks, which should be an awesome fight, a stand-up fight-fans dream match between Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling, as well as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal taking on late replacement Joe Vedepo.
UFC has a solid lineup as well, but it will be interesting to see which event fight fans go with this Saturday once the final numbers come in. UFC is the industry leader, but the question is — is UFC 180 at $50 a better option when an equally stacked Bellator fight card is live and free on Spike TV?
Only time will tell.
Which event will you be watching this weekend? What are your thoughts on the Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar grudge match? Leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below. You can also connect with me on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR, and/or on Twitter @MBoone420.
Also, check out some of the Ortiz-Bonnar pre-fight material below to get you pumped up for this Saturday’s event!
– VIDEO: “Tito vs. Bonnar: Winner Take All” (Full Episode)
– VIDEO: Ortiz, Bonnar Argue Over Drug Testing During Heated “OTR” Appearance
– MMANews.com’s Exclusive Pre-Fight Video Interview With Tito Ortiz
– MMANews.com’s Exclusive Pre-Fight Video Interview With Stephan Bonnar
– MMANews.com’s Exclusive Pre-Fight Video Interview With Ken Shamrock
– MMANews.com’s Exclusive Pre-Fight Video Interview With Scott Coker