Alexander Shlemenko will face Tito Ortiz on Bellator’s May 17 pay-per-view. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Alexander Shlemenko will do battle with Tito Ortiz at Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view.
Sherdog.com confirmed the booking with sources close to the matchup after Shlemenko posted a video online Thursday night challenging Ortiz to a fight at the May 17 event. Sherdog’s sources confirmed the matchup off the record because Bellator officials have not yet formally announced the bout.
Bellator’s pay-per-view debut takes place at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., and is headlined by a lightweight title rubber match between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler. The show will additionally feature the Season 10 light heavyweight tournament final, as Quinton Jackson takes on Muhammed Lawal.
Bellator’s reigning middleweight champion, Shlemenko won the title last year by stopping Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves at Bellator 88. “Storm” then went on to defend the belt three times successfully, besting Brett Cooper and Doug Marshall before submitting Brennan Ward last month to earn his 50th professional victory.
Ortiz, meanwhile, has not competed since July 2012, when he was sent into retirement by Forrest Griffin at UFC 148. However, the UFC hall of famer then signed with Bellator last year, accepting a match with another former UFC champion in Quinton Jackson. That light heavyweight showdown was supposed to headline a pay-per-view in November, but Ortiz was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a neck injury, prompting Bellator officials to shift the card to Spike TV.