Tito Ortiz was looking for a fight, former BodogFight veteran and current Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko was happy to oblige. These two will get in on at Tito’s natural 205lbs weight class after the Shlemenko called Tito out on Twitter.
On a PPV card short on big fights, this is one of the best possible fights for Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney to put together. Tito is arguably the fighter with the best brand name recognition in the organization and to have their middleweight champion want to move up in weight to challenge him it creates a no lose situation for Rebney.
If Tito wins, it shows he still has some gas in the tank. It doesn’t hurt Shlemenko because middleweights aren’t supposed to go up a division and win (Anderson Silva was is a legend, he doesn’t count) so if he loses it’s not the end of the world, he’s still MW champion. But if Shlemenko can beat Tito, it will add to his popularity. Sure Tito is old, coming off of injuries but he’s still Tito Ortiz; my mom knows Tito Ortiz.
Let’s look at the MMA Betting odds to see what the bookmakers are thinking.
Bellator 120 Odds
Tito Ortiz +350
Alexander Shlemenko -500
Despite moving up in weight, the MMA oddsmakers have Alexander Shlemenko as the huge -500 favorite so MMA bettors will need to risk $500 for every $100 they want to win. They are offering $350 for every $100 risked on Tito Ortiz.
It’s a huge disparity but the experts seem to think this is the end of the road for the former UFC light heavyweight champion Ortiz.
Shlemenko is a beast. He’s only lost once since 2009 and that was to UFC title contender Hector Lombard. He’s currently on a 13-fight winning streak. He’s a killer on his feet, his kickboxing is exceptional and he’ll be able to pick apart the much larger and slower Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz has one win since he beat Ken Shamrock back in 2006. He’s been a hell of a competitor in the sport, he’s a hall of famer, legend but he’s out of gas. Unless a miracle happens, it’s doubtful Ortiz will be able to defend against Shlemenko or quick enough to mount much offense against the Russian.