Although “Rampage” Jackson will no longer throw down with Tito Ortiz this Saturday as originally scheduled, the light-heavyweight will still fight a fellow UFC veteran after all. Bellator has announced that Jackson will fight newly signed Joey Beltran, November 15th in Atlantic City. The scrap, which will be hosted by the Revel, will headline Bellator 108 and will be broadcast on SPIKE.
Beltran (14-9, 1 NC) was recently let go by the UFC, after he lost via split decision to Fabio Maldonado at UFC Fight Night 29 on October 9th. The loss dropped the “Mexicutioner’s” Octagon record to 3-6 with 1 no contest. Here’s what the rugged veteran had to say about his upcoming bout with “Rampage”, in Bellator’s press release announcing the bout.
“This last month has been an absolute roller coaster of emotion,” Beltran said. “I’ve always been a warrior and thank god for my family and my teammates at Alliance MMA for keeping me focused and dedicated. I’ve always known that good things will happen to me if you put in the hard work and keep grinding, and that’s exactly what has happened with this opportunity. I fought for Bellator in 2009 when they were just starting out on ESPN, and I was fairly new on the scene as well. I loved my time there, and I couldn’t be happier to be back.”
“Getting the chance to fight Rampage is just a tremendous opportunity. This is my Rocky Balboa moment. A win against one of the best and well known fighters in the world would be an incredible accomplishment, and I’m not taking it lightly. Rampage better be prepared and ready for this fight. I’m prepared to go through hell during this fight. There will be blood. Someone is going to get hurt. This is my home now, and I don’t want to go anywhere. It’s Rampage first, then a Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament, and then onto the title.”
As Beltran noted, he fought for Bellator during it’s early stages and stopped Sherman Pendergarst. Now he’ll take on Jackson in his Bellator debut, as the fighter has not fought since January, when he lost by UD to Glover Teixeira at UFC on FOX 6.
“I want to thank Joey Beltran for stepping up for the fight so I can get my first Bellator victory out of the way,” said Jackson. “He’ll have the unfortunate honor of taking the ass whooping I was going to give Tito. My body is in incredible shape right now. I feel like I did in PRIDE, and Joey Beltran is the right guy to put on an exciting fight and showcase what I’ve been working on.”
So, there you have it. Although Beltran isn’t a former UFC champ like Ortiz, he certainly brings it every time out, so it should be a solid fight. It’s worth noting that Bellator 108 will also feature middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko taking on Dough Marshall, which could definitely steal the show. Patricio “Pitbull” is also scheduled to fight Justin Wilcox in the featherweight finals that night.
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