Slice stares down Shamrock ahead of Bellator 138 (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)Tent-pole Matches for Bellator to Make Scott Zerr November 3, 2015 Bellator, Events, News, Promotions, Spotlight The Bellator carnival, led by circus master Scott Coker, is going ‘tent-pole’ again with a scheduled event on February 19th, 2016 in Houston. Bellator’s only real ratings success stories have come via this type of wildly bizarre fight cards, nothing bigger than their most-recent attempt with the forever-ago relevant tilt between “The Artist Formerly Known as the World’s Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock and fan favorite/any street, anytime brawler Kimbo Slice. If Bellator really wanted to make a dent in the MMA landscape and true make a name for itself, it should, frankly speaking, pretty well entirely forget about developing talent and putting on run-of-the-mill shows. An entire schedule’s worth of tent-pole events is the way to go. There’s a viable argument that after two or three straight circus-top shows, the buzz will wear out. But what do they have to lose? Nothing but their tent-pole shows get much of any attention anyway outside of the hardcore MMA media and fans. Bellator didn’t care that people laughed at Shamrock-Slice, and it turned out to be the most-watched event they’ve ever done by miles. So why not all-tent-pole, all-the-time approach? You could come out guns blazing (it’s Houston, Texas, after all) with a whopper of a tent-pole to launch the new plan in February. Manufacture every conceivable off-the-wall matchup you can think of. Damn, the budget (if there really is one, thanks to Viacom’s bankroll) and pop some eyeballs. Here’s a look at a potential bust-loose, get creative tent-pole of all tent-poles fight cards or full year’s schedule of them: Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott – It’s the ultimate backyard brawl. Slice reinvigorated his fan base by laying the smack down on Ken Shamrock after surviving what seemed sure to be a fight-ending submission attempt. Abbott put himself back in the spotlight by recently calling out Ronda Rousey. If this fight goes any longer than two minutes, both guys will have completely empty gas tanks. Before that, one of them is going to get absolutely wrecked. Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn – The trilogy fight at long last. This Hall of Fame duo fought in 1995 and 1996 with Shamrock getting the win in the opener via first-round submission, and Severn taking the rematch by split-decision. Their combined age – 106. Their combined wins – 129. Last victory for Shamrock – 2010. Last win for Severn – 2012. As both have pro wrestling experience under their belts, make it a Retirement Match. The loser is banned by every commission in the world from fighting again. Kurt Angle vs. Randy Couture – The Olympic Champ vs. Captain America. Couture has more MMA experience, obviously, but this is more about wrestling and submissions than striking. FYI – WWE insiders told me years ago that Angle and Brock Lesnar “really” wrestled backstage onetime and Angle schooled the former UFC champ. Both Angle and Couture are, respectfully speaking, broken down warhorses but this is compelling stuff. Bobby Lashley vs. Mariusz Pudzianowski – If a commission chooses not to sanction pro debuter Angle against the former champ Couture, then maybe it will allow a WWE-meets-MMA collision with Angle versus Lashley. Otherwise, the muscle-bound Lashley should go bicep-to-bicep against the European strongman. First once to lactic acid overload is bound to go down in a heap. Tito Ortiz vs. Wanderlei Silva – The “Axe Murderer” will obviously have some legal loopholes to negotiate, but this is a classic old-timer’s division showdown. The pair met back in 2000 with Ortiz taking a unanimous decision. And hey, if Ortiz loses, he can claim he had a serious injury in training camp but fought anyway so you’ve got an instant rematch at a win apiece so bring on the trilogy. Cung Le vs. Melvin Manhoef – We’ll call this MMA, but really this is a kickboxing clash, a standup war between two elite strikers. Both are clearly miles from where they once were yet they are both devastating heavy hitters and seem to always be in fighting shape. Eight of Le’s nine wins are by KO and Manhoef has put the finishing touches on his foe in 27 of 29 victories. Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley – The Suckerpunch Rematch finally comes to fruition. Everyone remembers that Daley clocked Koscheck after the final bell in their 2010 encounter and the Brit was promptly shown the door by the UFC. Both are under the Bellator’s banner now and the heat they generated from their initial bout still lingers. Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin – They put The Ultimate Fighter and arguably the UFC as a whole on the map in 2005 and did it all over again in 2006 with Griffin winning both times. A third and final fight might as well take place as neither seem to have much else going plus their rivalry is one of MMA’s all-time best. Douglas Lima vs. Andrey Koreshkov – There really should be truly worthwhile bout on a tent-pole card and a rematch for the welterweight title is a dandy one. Koreshkov took Lima’s belt by decision in July, but the exciting Brazilian had not fought in 15 months and was not up to his usual level of skill. It’s got potential to be a great Part II leading up to a once-and-for-all trilogy.