Tito Ortiz will return from injury and face Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko in a light heavyweight fight on pay-per-view, the fighters announced on Friday night.
Shlemenko agreed to come up to 205 pounds to fight Ortiz the company’s May 17 event in Memphis, Tenn.
Ortiz (16-11-1) said he was recently cleared by his doctors to compete, after a hairline fracture in his neck sidelined him from making his Bellator debut last November.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Ortiz was scheduled to face his friend and fellow former champ, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but the injury put a stop to that fight happening.
Ortiz hasn’t fought since July of 2012, and his last professional win came a year before.
Shlemenko (50-7) hasn’t lost since 2010, and won the Bellator 185-pound title in February of 2013. The Russian fighter has won 13 consecutive fights since dropping a unanimous decision to Hector Lombard.