A light-heavyweight fight between former UFC stars Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz will headline Bellator 170 on January 21st in Inglewood, California the promotion have announced.
Sonnen will be returning for the first time since serving a two year ban from the sport after testing positive positive for multiple performance enhancing drugs during a random drugs test in the UFC.
After being caught Sonnen announced his retirement from the sport, but he’s since had a change of heart, and it initially looked as if he was going to return to the UFC, before making the surprise announcement that he’d arranged his release from the promotion and would now be signing for Bellator instead.
Upon signing, Sonnen immediately began hyping up a potential fight with fellow veteran Ortiz, stating that, “Every time we’re in the same room, it’s like this big alpha male contest. If the ‘Bad Boy’ wants a piece of the ‘Bad Guy,’ all he’s got to do is say my name.”
When he does finally set foot in the cage it’ll be the first time the 39 year-old will have done so in over three years. On paper, Sonnen’s recent record is not impressive, having lost for of his last four fights, but it takes on a different complexion when you consider the level of opposition – losing out in title fights against Anderson Silva at middleweight and Jon Jones at light-heavyweight, while former 205lb champ Rashad Evans also defeated him.
As for Ortiz, the Hall-Of-Famer has so far gone 2-1 in the Bellator cage since coming back out of retirement himself in 2014.
Along the way he’s recorded wins over former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko and Stephan Bonner, but he came up short in his light-heavyweight title challenge against Liam McGeary in September of last year, losing out by a first round triangle choke submission.
The 41 year-old has indicated recently that he’s on the verge of retirement, and a fight with another big name like Sonnen seems like as good a way to bow out as he’s likely to get at this stage in his career.