Tito Ortiz Extends His Career With Big Win

Published on May 18th, 2014 2:56 pm EST

It wasn't the prettiest fight, but Tito Ortiz did what he had to do at Bellator 120 (the organization's first PPV) by submitting Alexander Shlemenko to pick up the victory.

The fight started out as many people expected - the much faster (and smaller) Shlemenko was hitting Ortiz with some shots from the outside. Ortiz looked very slow compared to Shlemenko and it seemed as though the "People's Champion" may have been in for a long night.

Unfortunately for Shlemenko, Ortiz was able to hit a takedown a couple of minutes into the fight. Shlemenko doesn't have much of a ground game at all and it showed after he hit the ground, as Ortiz was able to easily transition into an arm triangle. Shlemenko was helpless against the much larger Ortiz and was eventually rendered unconscious.

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For Shlemenko, not much really changes. He is still Bellator's Middleweight champion and will likely receive a pass after agreeing to fight the much larger Ortiz.

For Ortiz, this victory likely extends his career by at least another 2-3 fights. If Ortiz had lost badly to Shlemenko last night he likely would have had a hard time getting another fight in Bellator. However, with his victory Ortiz will likely stick around in the promotion for at least a couple of years.

So what might be next for Ortiz? Well, the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion declared that he will "roll" through the rest of Bellator's Light Heavyweight division, which brought laughter from Bellator Light Heavyweight tournament winner Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Jackson has his plate full right now as he will be fighting for the Light Heavyweight title next, so an Ortiz/"Rampage" fight, at least for now, is out of the question.

According to Bjorn Rebney, Bellator would be interested in inserting Ortiz into a Light Heavyweight tournament. Would this be the best use of Ortiz, or should Bellator try to arrange the "Rampage"/Ortiz fight that was originally planned for last year?

An important factor in all of this will be the number of buys that Bellator 120 ends up doing. If the card ends up as a bust, Bellator will likely look to focus on developing their product on free TV. If the PPV buys were encouraging, I would guess that Bellator would want to save Ortiz for the promotion's next PPV, which will almost certainly feature Eddie Alvarez in the main event. Remember, Alvarez has been promised a PPV fight, which means that Bellator has to run at least one more PPV in order to satisfy the terms of Eddie's contract.

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Tito Ortiz, who has battled through a number of different injuries and is almost 40 years of age, will live to fight another day.


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