|ESPN.com: Mixed Martial Arts||[Print without images]|
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will make his Bellator Fighting Championships debut in November, but not under the circumstances many imagined.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Jackson will meet Joey Beltran on Nov. 15 in the main event of Bellator 108 in Atlantic City, N.J. Bellator officials announced the fight on Wendesday.
"It's been a long time coming to get Rampage into the Bellator cage, and on Nov. 15 we are going to see fireworks," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a released statement.
Jackson (32-11) was originally scheduled to headline the promotion's first pay-per-view event opposite fellow UFC veteran Tito Ortiz, but that bout was canceled last week after Ortiz withdrew with a neck injury.
Rebney eventually scrapped PPV plans altogether, pulling Jackson from the card and moving a lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez to a Spike TV broadcast.
Jackson, 35, will evidently not wait for Ortiz to return, and prepares to fight Beltran instead. Beltran (14-9) was released by the UFC earlier this month following a split decision loss to Fabio Maldonado at UFC Fight Night 29.
A former heavyweight, Beltran is 2-6 in his last eight fights, including a no-contest last December after he failed a post-fight drug test. He's competed once for Bellator previously, defeating Sherman Pendergarst by TKO in May 2009.
"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, in a released statement. "He'll have the unfortunate honor of talking the a--whooping I was going to give to Tito."
Ortiz (16-11-1) has since posted on Twitter he expects a full recovery from the neck injury, saying he will "be back in the gym in six weeks."