By Raphael Garcia
Big matches that draw attention are important in entertainment-based sports such as those in the combat arena. Mixed martial arts continues to build a library of big fights, many of which occur under the UFC banner. But this weekend, Bellator MMA attempts to present its own version of a big fight by pitting Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal against each other for the second time.
When it comes to star power, the Bellator roster is lacking compared to the biggest promotion in the game. That doesn’t stop the company’s matchmakers from putting together the fights that they believe will resonate with mainstream fans while keeping the hardcore contingent entertained. Jackson and Lawal shared the cage back at Bellator 120 in 2014 where they headlined the organization’s first venture into the pay-per-view market. That event brought in a reported 100K buys, but the organization hasn’t attempted to return to the platform, rather sticking to the free television market.
Bellator MMA is in a very interesting place right now. The company is making an effort to bring in both fringe stars and new faces from other disciplines, hoping to find the next breakout star. At the same time, the company leverages bigger stars in hopes that some of the lesser-known talent will get “the rub.” Muhammed Lawal and Quinton Jackson are examples of fighters who have found success without the need to carry around titles, and Bellator 175 is a testament to their star power. The younger contingent could learn a thing or two from these elder statesmen of the sport.