By Adam Martin
This weekend, Bellator holds its first card of 2017 when it heads to The Forum in Inglewood, California for Bellator 170. It's one of the best cards the promotion has had in a long time, and this is what you can expect from the card if you're planning on watching it this Saturday night:
Sonnen Returns Against Ortiz
The main event of Bellator 170 is a highly-anticipated light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen, who is returning from a three-year layoff, and Tito Ortiz, who says he will retire after this bout.
Sonnen was one of the UFC's most popular fighters but after failing a drug test, Sonnen, who is now 39, missed two years and then opted out of his UFC contract to sign with Bellator, where he can take over as one of the company's top draws. Although Sonnen has not won a fight since 2013, he remains one of the best fighters at promoting his own fights and that will keep fans interested in his bouts. As for Ortiz, he hasn't fought since a late 2015 loss to Liam McGeary. Ortiz is now 41 and is a legend of the sport, but he hasn't won since 2014 and is clearly on his last legs.
Considering these two have 80 years combined between them, it's really hard to know what to expect from this fight, but it will be well worth watching like most Sonnen and Ortiz fights. Say what you want about these two, but they always put on a show for the fans, and this is a big fight for Bellator to kick off the new year with.
Daley Meets Ward In An Exciting Welterweight Bout
Underrated Kato Takes On Returning Gracie
One of the most underrated middleweights in the world is Hisaki Kato and he fights Ralek Gracie, who is returning to MMA for the first time since 2010. Kato has won three of his four fights in Bellator including his last two bouts by knockout, and overall in his career all nine of his pro fights have ended via T/KO. He's an extremely exciting fighter and proved with his win over Joe Schilling that he has massive power. Gracie, the nephew of MMA legend Royce Gracie, is undefeated in MMA at 3-0 but hasn't fought since 2010. It's hard to know what to expect from him considering the layoff, but at 31 years of age he's in the prime of his career. This should be an interesting fight, though it's hard to predict how it will go considering Gracie's long layoff.
Lightweights Campos, Anderson Clash
Derek Campos takes on Derek Anderson. Both fighters are currently on two-fight win streaks and in a lightweight division in need of contenders to champion Michael Chandler, a win could push the victor into title contention. Campos last year picked up a huge knockout win over Melvin Guillard, and Anderson has a recent victory over Patricky "Pitbull" Freire. Bellator has given them a huge opportunity to fight on the big stage and get a lot of eyes on them. Now it's up to the fighters to run with the opportunity.
Prelims Feature Little Machida, Former UFC Fighters
The prelims for Bellator 170 are also quite strong. There are actually 12 preliminary card bouts, including appearances by fighters such as Chinzo Machida, the younger brother of Lyoto Machida, as well as former UFC fighters Kevin Casey, Cody Bollinger, and Jack May. With Bellator looking to build up depth and contenders in all of their divisions, all 24 fighters on the prelims will have a good opportunity to impress Bellator president Scott Coker and matchmaker Rich Chou, which should lead to some really good fights for the fans to watch.