Bellator will be going with big names over a highly anticipated title fight as the final bout of its big show in Los Angeles next week.
Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson will act as the headliner of Bellator 192 on Jan. 20 in Inglewood, Calif., MMA Fighting confirmed with the promotion Friday. Bellator president Scott Coker told The Sporting News earlier Friday that Sonnen vs. “Rampage” will be the main event. Previously, it was expected that a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald would be at the top of the bill.
““I knew that could happen. What can I do? They have a bigger name, but no problem. Maybe they did that so our fight wouldn’t go head to head with the 220 main card. I don’t know. But I’m not worried about it. I’m focused on the fight and doing my best so it’s a great fight. First or last fight of the night, I don’t care,” Lima said.
Bellator spokesperson C.J. Tuttle told MMA Fighting that Sonnen and Jackson will go on last, but the promotion is considering it a double main event along with Lima vs. MacDonald, like Bellator 149 with Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 and Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock from two years ago.
Sonnen told MMA Fighting on Friday afternoon that he was unaware he and Jackson would be going on last until it was reported. He said main-event fights get an extra corner person, so he now has to set up travel arrangements for another coach. Sonnen said he wasn’t sure if Bellator had ever explicitly told him he and “Rampage” were the co-main event, but he presumed it based on the promotion for the event.
Sonnen vs. “Rampage” is a first-round match in the Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament. Both men have headlined numerous UFC pay-per-view events in the past and have drawn more than 1 million buys on PPV multiple times.
Lima vs. MacDonald, though, is a five-round title fight. Lima (29-6) is one of the best fighters in Bellator history, a two-time champion with multiple highlight-reel knockouts on his résumé. MacDonald (19-4) is a popular former UFC title challenger known for exciting fights. When MacDonald signed with Bellator last year, it was considered perhaps the promotion’s most significant acquisition from the UFC yet.
Bellator 192 takes place Jan. 20 at The Forum. Sonnen and Tito Ortiz headlined last January’s Bellator card, also at The Forum. In addition, the card features a lightweight matchup between Michael Chandler and Goiti Yamauchi and the return of blue-chip prospect Aaron Pico against Shane Kruchten.
MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.