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Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko targeted for Bellator pay-per-view

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Looks like Tito Ortiz will end up on Bellator's inaugural pay-per-view after all, just against the unlikeliest of foes. Ortiz is angling to challenge Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko in a light heavyweight non-title fight on the May 17 card.

Bellator announced the news on Friday night's Bellator 116 broadcast, following an initial report of the match-up from Sherdog.

The announcement comes a day after Shlemenko posted a video to YouTube challenging the former UFC light heavyweight champion.

"Tito Ortiz, you say you want to fight May 17 on Bellator's pay-per-view? I will fight you. I will beat you," Shlemenko said. "Tito, I respect you. But I must beat you because I'm champion."

Ortiz (16-11-1) was expected to headline Bellator's first pay-per-view attempt against Rampage Jackson last November, however he suffered a neck injury a week out from fight night and the pay-per-view was shifted over to Spike TV.

The 39-year-old is 1-7-1 since December 2006, and currently in the midst of a three-fight losing streak. His lone victory over that span came in a shocking first-round upset of Ryan Bader at UFC 132.

Shlemenko (50-7), on the other hand, has won 13 straight fights, the last four of which were contested for the Bellator middleweight championship. He most recently submitted Brennan Ward with a second-round guillotine at Bellator 114.

Bellator's inaugural pay-per-view is set to take place at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi. An updated fight card can be seen below.

  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler
  • Rampage Jackson vs. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal
  • Alexander Shlemenko vs. Tito Ortiz
  • Will Brooks vs. Nate Jolly