Quinton Jackson to fight Tito Ortiz

By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

The event will be at Long Beach Arena in Southern California.

 

Ortiz/Jackson

Tito Ortiz, left, will make his return to the cage, one year after retiring from MMA, to face Quinton Jackson on Nov. 2.

“To have two of the biggest names in MMA headline our first PPV is awesome,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a statement.

“Rampage vs. Tito is a fight I’ve wanted to see for years and to have it as our main event on our first PPV is a spectacular next step in Bellator’s evolution.”

The news broke during Wednesday’s live broadcast of Bellator 97 on Spike TV. Both Jackson and Ortiz were on hand for the announcement.

Jackson (32-11) finished out his contract with the UFC in January. He went on to sign a deal with Bellator this summer, which also allows him to appear on Spike TV’s professional wrestling promotion, TNA Wrestling.

The 35-year-old exited the UFC on a three-fight losing streak but promised he is more motivated than ever after cutting ties with the promotion.

“I’ve found my love for MMA again,” Jackson said. “Now I’m with a reputable company that knows how to treat its fighters.”

Jackson joined the UFC in 2007 when Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, purchased his contract and others from World Fighting Alliance. He fought for the promotion a total of 12 times, amassing a 7-5 record. He won the UFC light heavyweight title in his second appearance in May 2007, knocking out Chuck Liddell in the first round.

Ortiz (16-11-1) announces his return to the cage one year after retiring from the sport following a unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 148. Ortiz has endured a 1-7-1 record in his past nine fights dating back to December 2006.

“I’m back,” Ortiz said in a released statement. “Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and [UFC president] Dana [White]. I didn’t have that drive to compete. My heart wasn’t in it.

“I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family.”

Ortiz, 38, made his professional fighting debut at UFC 13 in May 1997. Three years later, he was crowned the light heavyweight champion at UFC 25 following a unanimous decision over Wanderlei Silva.

Based out of Huntington Beach, Calif., Ortiz fought for the UFC 27 times in his professional career, the most of any fighter in the promotion’s near 20-year history.

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