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Quinton Jackson, Muhammed Lawal to be co-main event in Bellator’s inaugural PPV

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

We’ve known for the last few months now that lightweights Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez would square off in a trilogy fight, but on Monday we learned the when, where, and with whom.

Bellator announced that its inaugural pay-per-view venture will take place on May 17 in Memphis, Tennessee, pitting Chandler-Alvarez III as the main event. The co-main event will feature South Memphis’ own Quinton Jackson against former Strikeforce champion Muhammed Lawal, a pair of light heavyweights who’ve long had bad blood with one another.

The event will take place at The Landers Center, just across the border on the Mississippi side of Memphis.

"I’ve been wanting to come back to Memphis for the last decade, and I’m finally getting that chance to fight in one of the biggest fights of my career for Bellator," Jackson stated in the press release. "After being part of the Bellator family for a while now, I feel like the old ‘Rampage,’ and that’s not a good thing for Mo. I’m back, I’m a monster, and I’m looking to put on another entertaining fight for all my fans on May 17."

The 35-year old Jackson has revitalized his career of late, scoring victories over Joey Beltran in his debut, and against Christian M’Pumbu in the mini-light heavyweight tournament since arriving Bellator. Lawal, who defeated Mikhail Zayats to punch his ticket to the 205-pound finals, has been more hit and miss. The coveted acquisition is now 3-2 in the Bellator cage, with a pair of losses to Emanuel Newton.

"When it comes down to it, this is a fight I’ve wanted for a long time, and I’m going to be able to beat [Jackson’s] ass in his hometown, and everyone is going to respect me," Lawal said in the statement. "Rampage is just a stepping stone in my way to get that title shot again and get that belt. It’s all I want, and after I beat Rampage, I’m going for that belt, simple as that."

Meanwhile Chandler-Alvarez will go off as Bellator’s biggest fight in its five-year history. The pair has met twice before in highly competitive, back-and-forth fights that saw the belt switch hands both times. Alvarez (25-3) has won three in a row, and defeated Chandler in November via split decision. It was the 27-year-old Chandler’s first loss on his pro record (12-1).