There is no love lost between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
They may be well past their primes, but Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar still have plenty to offer Bellator MMA in terms of name recognition.
Ortiz will meet Bonnar in the Bellator 131 main event on Saturday at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, as the organization closes out its 11th season with a battle between Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famers.
Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the Bellator 131 headliner:
Chris Clements: As much as I wish Tito was going to win, I just think his body is too worn out and he will be too slow to keep up with Bonnar. Bonnar wins via third-round TKO.
Nam Phan: I always have to go with my friends, whether they are the underdogs or the favorites. I have to go with Bonnar. I think he’s going to outstrike him and win by points.
Joe Duarte: Tough fight to call, but I’m going with the opposite of whoever Nam Phan chooses. Nothing but love, Nam.
Keith Berry: Tito looks like he’s taking it serious, so I’m taking him by second-round TKO.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: As an old-school fan, I love this matchup. I believe Bonnar might have a bit too much for Tito at this point. I’m not sure if Tito can keep up with Bonnar after all his injuries in the past. However, Tito looked great in his last fight with Alexander Shlemenko, so you can never count him out. I’m going to say the fight looks similar to one of Tito’s fights with Forrest Griffin. I see Bonnar just doing enough to outwork Tito. Bonnar is a really tough, well-rounded martial artist, and I don’t believe he gets the credit he deserves sometimes. Bonnar wins by decision.
Alan Jouban: I’m going to have to side with Bonnar in this one. At this point in Tito’s career, I don’t think he has the speed in his double to take Bonnar down. If it stays in a striking match, I give Bonnar the advantage with more weapons and a solid chin. I expect Tito to catch him a couple times, but that normally brings the best out of Bonnar. Plus, I hear from an inside tip that he’s training like a mad man.
Ricardo Liborio: Bonnar wins in a very good fight.
Ryan Benoit: I think Bonnar takes it, but I’m mostly looking forward to the post-fight interview.
Eddie Gordon: Bonnar wins just because Tito is soft.
Wilson Reis: I have Tito wining by submission in round one. This fight will have an explosive beginning, with a takedown followed by ground-and-pound and a finish by either guillotine or head-and-arm choke. Bonnar hasn’t performed at his best in a while. I don’t believe he will now, and Tito comes in with good momentum.
Cody Gibson: When Scott Coker took the wheel as Bellator’s new president, I thought it meant good things for the organization. Instead, he’s turning it into a circus, at least with this fight. I don’t really know who wins because I don’t know what either guy has left. Based off how they did in their primes, I’ll lean towards Tito, but I just don’t see the relevance or importance of these guys fighting. Either way, I guess Bellator gets the last laugh because as I type this, I also am realizing that I, too, will probably be watching.
Tom DeBlass: I say Bonnar wins a decision. Tito is too slow and gasses too quickly.
James Vick: Bonnar wins by unanimous decision.
Roger Narvaez: Bonnar gets the W. He’ll outstrike Ortiz and neutralize the takedowns. Ortiz won’t be able to handle Bonnar’s power for all three rounds. Good matchup, but I have to go with “The American Psycho.”
Tony Martin: Is this pro wrestling? Why not promote a true fight in Will Brooks-Michael Chandler? Two of your upcoming stars are backups to two UFC rejects who are way out of their prime. With that said, I have Bonnar winning, with Tito apologizing before the fight and tapping out to make amends. The two will then join forces for the tag team championship. This is pro wrestling, right?
Igor Araujo: Will be great to see these two great fighters doing the work again. I have Bonnar winning by decision after a great fight.
J.J. Ambrose: Bad WWE gimmicks aside, Bonnar hasn’t been on point in a long time. I’m going with Tito via TKO in the second round.
Jeff Hougland: Tito wins by old-school elbow smashing and ground-and-pound from inside Bonnar’s guard. He gets the TKO in the second round.
Mitch Clarke: I’m going with Bonnar by decision in a battle of who gets to stay slightly more relevant.
Ray Elbe: Bonnar is not going to outwrestle Ortiz. I had an opportunity to train with him a few times at the Punishment Athletics Training center in Huntington Beach, Calif., leading up to this fight. He looks to be in great shape and is going to be able to ground-and-pound Bonnar until he wins a decision or the referee stops the fight.
John Gunderson: This is a tough one to pick. I’m going to go with Bonnar but wouldn’t be surprised if Tito took him down and won a split decision.
Kyle Kingsbury: Tito wins. He’s still got it. Does anyone else feel like this fight is like watching “Rocky XVI” at the movies?
Eric Prindle: Bonnar takes it by split decision. He’ll win the standup game.
THE FINAL TALLYPros Picking Bonnar: 15
Pros Picking Ortiz: 7