When Stephan Bonnar announced he was coming out of retirement to sign with Bellator MMA, he said he wanted one fight in particular: Tito Ortiz.
He got his wish. Bonnar (15-8, 0-0 Bellator), a Munster native and Purdue graduate, and Ortiz (17-11-1, 1-0 Bellator), both members of the UFC's Hall of Fame, will headline Bellator 131 on Nov. 15 in San Diego. The fight will air live on Spike TV.
The bout was announced during Bellator's Season 11 premiere on Spike on Sept. 5 – but came with a twist. Bonnar and Ortiz were brought into the cage in between fights, and then things went a little sideways.
Bonnar called out Ortiz, taking aim at his family and fans, and then took a pair of masks off a fighter in the cage with him. The fighter, Justin McCully, is a former Ortiz training partner and was there to illustrate that even Ortiz's former friends and teammates have been rubbed the wrong way by him. The stunt quickly escalated to a brief shoving match, and the style in which Bonnar used to promote the fight led to criticism from some who said it too closely resembled pro wrestling. Spike TV also airs TNA Impact! Wrestling, and several of its fighters have been allowed to cross over to work for both Bellator MMA and TNA.
Regardless, the fight is booked, and Bonnar will be looking for his first win since November 2011. Ortiz won in May in his Bellator debut, but has just two wins in nearly eight years, going 2-7-1 over that stretch.
Elkins returns in October in Brazil: Next month's UFC 179 pay-per-view in Brazil will have a decidedly region flavor to it.
Hobart-based Darren Elkins (17-4, 7-3 UFC), part of the Duneland Vale Tudo team, has been added to the card in a featherweight fight against Brazil's Lucas Martins (15-1, 3-1 UFC).
Elkins joins teammate Josh Shockley and Neil Magny, a Hoosier Fight Club veteran who used to train in the region, on the card. UFC 179 will take place Oct. 25 in Rio de Janeiro.
Elkins last fought in January at UFC on Fox 10 in Chicago, where he dropped a unanimous decision to Jeremy Stephens. Healing up nagging injuries has kept him sidelined till now. Against Martins, he'll be looking to get back on track in the 145-pound division after losses in two of his past three fights.
Martins has won three straight, all by stoppage. In the first two, he fought at bantamweight before returning to featherweight in July for a knockout win.
'Pitbull' Freire tops Curran for Bellator 145 title: Pat Curran moved from his cousin Jeff's gym in the north suburbs to Texas for his most recent fight camp. It put him closer to his parents, and it gave him a chance to train with UFC welterweight champ Johny Hendricks and his team.
The decision to move from the camp that had been his home his whole MMA career reportedly was a tough one for the Bellator featherweight, and one many of his Team Curran teammates disagreed with. As it turned out, the team change didn't pay off.
Curran lost his Bellator featherweight title earlier this month to Patricio "Pitbull" Freire, dropping a unanimous decision at Bellator 123 in Connecticut. The fight was a rematch from a close bout in 2013, which Curran won by split decision to defend his belt for the first time.
Before signing with Bellator in 2010, Curran fought throughout the Midwest, including a 2008 loss to Elkins in Hammond.