Opinion: What to Expect From “Rampage” Jackson vs. Joey Beltran
By Michael Hatamoto
Former UFC light-heavyweight champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will make his Bellator debut later this month, when he meets former UFC heavyweight Joey Beltran in what should be a striking battle on the feet.
It wasn’t uncommon to hear Rampage complain about a lot of things – especially the UFC pitting him against wrestling-based fighters – but that type of matchmaking likely won’t happen in Bellator. Although former UFC champion Tito Ortiz, Rampage’s original opponent was a wrestler, expect the heavy-handed fighter to be given favourable match-ups.
Beltran has lost six of his last nine fights, losing to the likes of Matt Mitrione, Pat Barry, Stipe Miocic, Lavar Johnson, James Te Huna, and Fabio Maldonado – and Rampage should be able to finish Beltran sometime before the final bell.
However, if Beltran is able to turn this into an ugly, grinding fight against Rampage, the former light-heavyweight champion’s cardio has been an issue for quite some time. Beltran can try to avoid absorbing damage and keep Rampage trapped along the fence, while wearing him down.
Beltran asked his wife and family not to attend the fight in-person, expecting his fight with Rampage to be a stand-and-bang brawl until one fighter is finished.
I applaud Beltran for taking this fight with just two weeks of notice, and Rampage might have had cardio and motivational issues in the past, but I expect him to be ready on Nov. 15. If Rampage is in-shape and mentally prepared, there is no reason he shouldn’t be able to get by Beltran, either by KO/TKO or decision.
Beyond that, this matchup seems rather confusing to me, besides the fact that it’s two more well-known MMA names matched up against one another. A fight between Rampage and a fighter like Mikhail Zayats would have more purpose in the Bellator light-heavyweight division, though Zayats is largely an unknown name amongst U.S. MMA fans.