UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz takes place this Saturday (August 6th) live from the place Rocky Balboa made famous, Philadelphia, PA. It also marks the return of Tito Ortiz to main event status after his choking of perennial top 10 light heavyweight, Ryan Bader at UFC 132.
At first Ortiz decided he wasn't going to accept the bout due to his fight and camp just ending. He also cited that he wanted to return to his business 'Punishment Athletics' and family matters.
Ortiz has lived his UFC career like a rockstar and broke all the 'rules'. He trash talked Ken Shamrock and then bashed him in the first huge pay per view event for the Zuffa era. He dodged Chuck Liddell until, they rocked the roof of UFC 47. He coached season 2 of the Ultimate Fighter and smashed Ken Shamrock, again.
After much deliberation he agreed to fight his UFC 73 opponent (again) to see what is left for the 'Huntington Beach Bad Boy'. He survived (literally) at UFC 132 but can Ortiz 'prevail' at UFC 133 en route to a showdown either number one contender Quinton Jackson or Jon Jones?
Ortiz has collected a lot of 'punishment' for his 5 years of turmoil prior to UFC 132 but he has also been a dominate force in his at times 'famous' and infamous' career.
So what has been Tito Ortiz' greatest win?
UFC 19- Tito Ortiz makes Guy Mezger his Bitch
The Ortiz-Lion's Den rivalry is very storied and well documented as it was the 1st fued that made Zuffa what is today when Ken Shamrock, the leader of the Lion's Den called Tito Ortiz a disrespectful punk, it was on.
Mezger, who oddly seemed to be a whole different level of fighter in Pride Fighting Championship was the first man to beat Ortiz. He made Ortiz his punk that night in Augusta,Georgia when he beat the blond bomber in three minutes by way of guillotine choke.
Ortiz, grew a distanefor losing wanted his re-match with Mezger but first had to earn it. He briefly left the UFC for 'West Coast NHB championship' where he beat unknown Jeremy Screeton and then came back to the UFC to earn a TKO (cut) win over Lion's Den member Jerry Bohlander. He earned his long wanted re-match with his only blemish with Guy Mezger.
It all began.
Ortiz made UFC 19 his night to become 'The Huntington Beach Bad Boy' when he smashed Mezger with his wrestling and brutal ground and pound. He was relentless andhad a hunger in his stomach with the likes we had not seen from Ortiz. He would go on to earn his TKO win over Mezger but his post fight tactics made him a star.
Oh it didn't just stop at the very disrespectful shirt it led to Ortiz flipping off Mezger and his camp which led to UFC legend Ken Shamrock climbing the cage and getting into a verbal throwdown with the victorious Ortiz. Shamrock, a very prideful man didn't like the disrespect by Tito, then again who would?. Like it or not, this win spawned the Ortiz era into full steam because without question his star power just rose high.
UFC 25- Ortiz win gold while stopping an 'Axe Murderer
Prior to getting a UFC light heavyweight title shot, Ortiz had been dropped by Ken Shamrock's adopted brother Frank Shamrock at UFC 22. He not only beat Ortiz but he embarrassed Tito as if it was nothing at all. Ortiz, clearly bummed that he couldn't run through the Lion's Den had to relax and realize he was young.
Frank Shamrock and the UFC could not come to an agreement for him to defend the strap. He left due to lack of opponents and of course, money. Losing Shamrock in his prime was a big hole for SEG who needed fresh faces to keep afloat.
They decided that Ortiz could be that new face when they paired him against future Pride FC star, Wanderlei Silva at UFC 25. The fight may never have been given to Ortiz if he had not created such a stir at UFC 19 in his post fight antics. He was a model of a brute wrestler much like Mark Coleman was. He takes you downa nd makes you squeal after repeated elbows are dropped on your noggin.
At UFC 25, Ortiz would beat up Wanderlei who's wrestling and take down defense were non-existent. 25 minutes of punishment was used to earn Ortiz the gold in Tokyo, Japan.
UFC 40- Ortiz smashes a Legend
Remember how early i painted that picture of 'Ortz versus the Lion's Den' all the way back at UFC 19? well, it all finally came to a head at UFC 40.
Zuffa had purchased the UFC from SEG andit was not making the kind of revenue it was hoping or knew it could be.It needed something and i am sure this fight was always on their mind but Ken Shamrock was working for the WWF.
The allure of the cage was too much and Ken Shamrock wanted back and enter Tito Ortiz, the face of the UFC. The fued had already been laid out and the buzz was the biggest the UFC had gotten for any tilt to this point. They did the best damn sports show and had actual media outlets clamouring.
The young punk vs. the legend was a tale written with in itself but add personalities like these two and you build a company.
The fight was not the war and even fight everyone expected but damn did it have emotion. Ortiz was on his game that night and slammed Shamrock and made his face into lasagna. At one point Shamrock who clearly worked on his boxing dropped Ortiz to a knee but could not capitalize on the moment.
Ortiz beat his rival in fashion and furthered his career.
UFC 51- Ortiz stays alive at the expense of a 'Phenom'
Tito Ortiz had lost his aura, his title strap and back to back losses to Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. He did however beat Patrick Cote but, in reality who only decisioned a guy (sorry jay) who had no right being there let alone survive five rounds.
Ortiz needed something big to ensure he was worth his pay and a man who had hardships and needing a win was Vitor Belfort. Belfort, had lost to Randy Couture and even though he was not on the same down-slide as Ortiz it was still a much needed win.
UFC 51 was UFC51: Desperation for both parties involved. It was a very good fight between a hard throwing striker in Belfort and a wrestler in Ortiz. They went back and forth for 15 minutes that night Las Vegas. In the last two rounds it proved that conditioning was the main factor as Ortiz had enough gas to secure takedowns and avoid a flash knockout.
Ortiz poured everything into the bout and earned a tight split decision that revitalized Ortiz as he would go on to win three straight after this one.
Ortiz showed a whole different side then we had seen in years pass as he ran up the ramp without any security through the crowd to raise his mexican/USA flag high and proud. Before UFC 132 when he beat Ryan Bader, this was his do or die fight.
So Maniacs', all bias and feelings aside, What is Tito Ortiz' greatest win of all-time?