Bellator MMA has opted for name recognition when choosing an official headliner for its debut on the Paramount Network.
After months of promoting the welterweight championship fight between Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald as the Bellator 192 main event, Scott Coker confirmed to The Sporting News on Friday that Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson will be the evening’s featured bout.
While Bellator is calling it a double main event, Sonnen vs. “Rampage” will be the last televised bout of the night. Sonnen and Jackson will kick off the promotion’s quarterfinal round of the heavyweight grand prix, which will crown a new champion by the end of the year. Lima will defend his 170-pound belt against MacDonald in a five-round tilt immediately prior.
Jackson, a former UFC heavyweight champion and Pride Fighting Championships star, and Sonnen, a title challenger in the UFC at middleweight and light heavyweight, have both headlined successful pay-per-view offerings in the Las Vegas-based promotion and are generally considered to be bigger stars than either Lima or MacDonald. However, MacDonald was one of Bellator’s biggest free agent acquisitions and his matchup with Lima could be the best overall fight of a weekend that also includes two title bouts at UFC 220.
Bellator 192 takes place at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Jan. 20 and will be televised on the Paramount network beginning at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.