'Rampage' tramples over 'King Mo'

Originally Published: May 18, 2014
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

Quinton Jackson won his third consecutive fight and he did it in front of his hometown crowd on Saturday -- but he still didn't leave satisfied.

If it makes him feel better, neither did his rival Muhammed Lawal.

Jackson (35-11) defeated Lawal via unanimous decision on Saturday inside Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi. The light heavyweight tournament finals bout headlined the Bellator 120 event, the promotion's first-ever pay-per-view offering.

[+] EnlargeQuinton Jackson and Muhammed Lawal
Martin McNeil for ESPNQuinton Jackson applied relentless pressure to earn a decision over Muhammed Lawal.

The grudge match was a mostly sluggish affair, as Lawal (12-4) repeatedly tried to take Jackson down with mixed success. The strategy did prevent "Rampage" Jackson from opening up with his punches, however.

All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for the more aggressive Jackson, who is from nearby Memphis. ESPN.com had it 29-28 in favor of Lawal. Afterwards, Jackson requested a rematch.

"He came out and tried to take me down like I knew he would," Jackson said. "I'm not happy with my performance. I wanted to knock 'King Mo' out. I want a rematch. I won't be satisfied until he's down on this Bellator mat sleeping."

Lawal responded by claiming he won the fight and accused Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney of favoring Jackson.

"You know who won that fight," Lawal said. "Your corner knows. You know who won that fight, Bjorn."

Lawal scored his first takedown of the night in the opening five seconds of the bout. He failed to keep Jackson down for any prolonged period of time and never scored much offense, but he smothered him along the fence for the majority of the opening round to score points.

Jackson came out in a wide, low stance to start the second frame. He wobbled Lawal near the fence with a right cross, but allowed himself to be tied up in a clinch shortly after. He eventually shrugged Lawal off and continued to stalk him, but gave up a takedown with 40 seconds left in the round.

With the score even headed into the third, Lawal's efforts to put Jackson on the ground intensified. He scored a single leg takedown 90 seconds into the round, but allowed Jackson to get back to his feet with two minutes left.

Jackson pressed forward with haymakers, but couldn't land anything significant. Again, Lawal pressed him into the fence and scored one crisp counter jab in the final moments. Both fighters appeared exhausted at the final bell.

The win sets up Jackson for a shot at the light heavyweight title, if he wants it. Emanuel Newton (23-7-1) is the current champion. He won the belt with a split decision victory over Attila Vegh at Bellator 113 in March.

Jackson is 3-0 since he departed the UFC on a 0-3 skid. He scored back-to-back first-round knockouts over Joey Beltran and Christian M'Pumbu to progress through the tournament. Lawal falls to 4-3 overall in the Bellator cage.

Ortiz chokes out Shlemenko

[+] EnlargeTito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko
Martin McNeil for ESPNTito Ortiz, left, wasted no time closing the gap and ending the night on Alexander Shlemenko.

Right about the time Alexander Shlemenko was losing consciousness, he might have regretted calling out Tito Ortiz.

Ortiz (17-11-1) made his Bellator debut a memorable one, as he submitted the promotion's middleweight champion in a non-tournament light heavyweight bout.

The upset finish came via arm-triangle choke at 2:27 of the first round.

It was the first time Ortiz, 39, had fought since he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in July 2012 and first win since July 2011. He was supposed to debut with Bellator in November, but withdrew from that fight due to injury.

"I worked hard as hell for this," Ortiz said. "I'm inspired to inspire others. I've gone through so many surgeries. People counted me out. I had my back pushed against the wall and people counted me out."

Shlemenko (50-8) personally asked to fight Ortiz at 205 pounds, despite the fact he's considered small for middleweight. He might have bit off more than he could chew, however, as size definitely played a factor in the result.

A former light heavyweight champion in the UFC, Ortiz came forward aggressively in search of a takedown. He ate several kicks to the body early, but his fourth shot produced the desired result, as he dragged Shlemenko to the ground. Ortiz moved immediately into side control and trapped the left arm of Shlemenko.

The size difference was blatant on the ground and Shlemenko stood no chance. He eventually went out from the choke, refusing to tap.

"He's a great champ at 185 pounds," Ortiz said. "My hat is off to him for taking this fight and calling me out. But at the same time, what do I do best? I punish people."

Shlemenko remains the Bellator 185-pound champion despite the loss, which snaps a 13-fight win streak.

Ortiz is now 2-7-1 in his last 10 fights. His last win came via guillotine over Ryan Bader at UFC 132.

Brooks edges past Chandler

Stop the presses. The Bellator lightweight division just went off script.

[+] EnlargeMichael Chandler and Will Brooks
Martin McNeil for ESPNWill Brooks, right, proved sturdier and more athletic in earning the nod over Michael Chandler.

In a major upset, Will Brooks defeated former champion Michael Chandler via split decision for the Bellator interim lightweight title.

Judges Rob Hinds and Todd Anderson scored it 48-47 for Brooks, while Larry Ingle saw it 48-47 Chandler. ESPN.com scored the bout a draw, 47-47.

The loss is a devastating blow for Chandler (12-2), who was originally scheduled to appear in the main event in a trilogy bout against champion Eddie Alvarez. That fight fell through last weekend, when Alvarez (25-3) withdrew due to a concussion.

Winner of the Season Nine lightweight tournament, Brooks (14-1) agreed to replace Alvarez on short notice. The 27-year-old had been scheduled to appear on the card, although only in a three round fight.

"I have been waiting for an opportunity to come out and slug it out with somebody," Brooks said. "This was a good opportunity to fight a like Chandler. At one point, I wasn't even concerned with the belt. I just wanted to slug it out. It was fun."

A former collegiate wrestler at the University of Missouri, Chandler was effective in the first two rounds gaining top position, but failed to adjust later in the fight, as Brooks grew successful in defending his shots.

He gave up his back to Brooks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. No round was worse for Chandler than the third, when Brooks opened a cut near his left eye with an elbow and hurt him on the feet with a left head kick near the fence.

"This was by far the worst performance of my life," Chandler said. "There were a lot of different things going on. Congratulations to Will. I'll be back."

In the fourth round, Chandler absorbed an illegal knee to the head by Brooks, which caused him to take a long break on one knee with referee Kevin MacDonald looking on. The shot was illegal, but didn't appear to affect Chandler the rest of the fight.

Brooks continued to defend takedowns and counter strike in the fifth, however Chandler finished the fight on a high note. He caught Brooks with a right hand after Brooks slipped and eventually moved into an arm-triangle attempt and full mount, where he finished the fight.

Brooks extends his win streak to five with the decision. It was his first experience in a five-round fight. Chandler, who began his career with a 12-fight win streak, suffers back-to-back losses. He lost the title to Alvarez in November via split decision

Volkov chokes out Ivanov; wins tournament

Former heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov earned a shot at reclaiming the Bellator title with a submission win over Blagoi Ivanov in the tournament finals.

Volkov (22-4) tapped Ivanov at 1:08 of the second round via rear-naked choke. The submission capped off an impressive tournament run by Volkov, in which he posted three consecutive finishes.

It also marks just the second submission of the Russian's pro career. Before Saturday, Volkov hadn't tapped an opponent since May 2010.

"It's a great pleasure for me to win in this way," Volkov said. "I was preparing for this kind of fight. I knew I was going against a specialist in Sambo."

Ivanov (11-1) imposed his will early, but might have paid a price in doing so. He trapped Volkov against the fence for the majority of the opening round with a right underhook, but failed in his attempts to put him on his back.

Volkov, who admitted after the fight he suffered a rib injury during his camp, looked calm in the position. He managed to stay upright and land occasional knees to Ivanov's midsection. He did, however, absorb a couple hard right hands to the head.

Momentum swung completely in Volkov's favor in the second round as his opponent started to gas. Ivanov walked into a few early punches, which opened a cut under his right eye. He managed to drag Volkov down, but lost position in an ensuing scramble.

Volkov quickly transitioned to the back, locked in his hooks and slipped in the choke. Referee John Dixon stepped in on the tap by Ivanov.

"I knew he would eventually get tired," Volkov said. "I felt he was tired and I took that opportunity to finish him."

The win sets Volkov up in a rematch with Vitaly Minakov. Minakov (14-0) took the belt from Volkov via first-round TKO at Bellator 108 in November. He recorded his first defense via unanimous decision over Cheick Kongo in April.

Page storms past Rainey

The hype surrounding Michael Page isn't going anywhere soon.

Page (6-0) remained unbeaten in his pro MMA career, as he knocked out Ricky Rainey at the 4:29 mark of the first round of their welterweight contest. The finish came courtesy of a Page overhand right.

The result appeared inevitable almost immediately. A highly accomplished kickboxer, Page showed Rainey the same disdain he's shown every opponent he's met thus far. He danced and showboated throughout the fight, all while slipping Rainey's offense.

"I felt in control the whole time," Page said. "I came to put on a show and I think I did that. I proved why I'm supposed to be here. I'm going to come back and do it again and again.

"This is stuff I've been practicing all the time. I knew I had this game once I came in and felt him out. In my head, I knew I had it."

Rainey (8-3) relentlessly pursued Page from one side of the cage to the other, but was badly outclassed on his feet. Page staggered him in the first minute with a knee to the chin, but chose to dance away and allow him to continue.

Later in the round, Page, 27, purposefully looked away from Rainey as he popped him with the jab. The crowd booed him for it, but that didn't prevent Page from carrying on, at one point looking up into the stands as Rainey tried to hit him.

Fighting out of London, Page has now finished all six of the opponents he's faced since transitioning to MMA in 2012. Despite his success, he said he's in his hurry to challenge the upper-echelon of the division.

"I want to take my time in this sport and do it properly," Page said. "When you do see me against these [higher ranked] guys, I'll be ready -- but right now I'm still growing."

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