It has been quite the turnaround for Joey Beltran since his release from the UFC last month. After losing to Fabio Maldonado at UFC Fight Night 29, in Brazil on October 9, the "Mexicutioner" went from preliminary negotiations with Bellator to fight for the promotion during the next season, right to taking on Rampage Jackson in tonight's (Nov. 15, 2013) main event at Bellator 108 in Atlantic City, NJ.
"After I was released by the UFC, the following Monday my manager got right to work," Beltran said recently as a guest on Darce Side Radio. "Everything was going good with Bellator, as far as negotiations and we were all set to sign, and then I found out, along with the rest of the world, Tito had pulled out.
"I called my manager and said ‘hey, lets fight Rampage. I'll fight him today. I don't care.'" He continued, "and, my manager also happens to be the Spanish commentator for Bellator, Manny Rodriguez. He had the inside lane, set up the talks and they liked the idea and I got the fight.
"I'm excited to make Bellator Fighting Championships my home."
Many eyes will be on the fight tonight, if for nothing else but to see how Rampage looks in his first action since his loss to Glover Teixiera last January, and what kind of shape he is in. Beltran has no such concerns.
"I hope I don't get knocked out and embarrass my family...Nah, I'm just kidding," he said laughing. "I'm excited for the opportunity to put on a show and do what I do."
What Beltran will be doing is giving Jackson just the kind of fight he craves.
Beltran, who has two UFC "Fight of the Night" awards, loves to stand and trade. There shouldn't be much action on the ground at Revel Casino. Based on his reputation, Beltran won't be looking to take his opponent down to the mat. He said he has to be prepared for all facets even against Jackson, who is particularly vocal about preferring stand up bouts.
"I'm ready for whatever happens," he stated. "It's an MMA fight, not a boxing fight, so you have to ready for everything. Either way, I think it will be a very pleasing fight."
The 31-year-old fighter isn't concerned about the quick turnaround between fights, because he never took a break after his fight with Maldonado.
"I feel fine. The thing that was hurt the most was my heart. I was so pissed about the decision I got back in the gym immediately."
Beltran said tonight's fight is a "huge opportunity" and is also very excited because this fight will be able to lend a hand to his holiday shopping.
"Like I said, we were already in talks with Bellator, and I wasn't going to be used until February or March, whenever the next season starts," he explained. "It's good. It's an opportunity to get some Christmas money, because I have three kids and that sh*t gets expensive."
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire Bellator 108 card this evening, starting with the "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET online, and then main card action, which is slated to begin at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV.