The main event of UFC 133 tonight (Aug. 6, 2011) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania featured a rematch more than four years in the making. Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz fought to a controversial draw all the way back in July 2007 at UFC 73 and now, improbably, their paths crossed once again for a battle with everything on the line.
"Suga" was promised a title shot if he were to defeat "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy," who wasn't promised the same but would undoubtedly put himself close to the top of the ladder with what would be one of the biggest victories of his career. After all, this was a man that just over one month ago was on the verge of losing his job and retiring from the sport altogether.
So who did the deed and pulled out the victory?
That would be Rashad Evans, who overcame over a years worth of ring rust to earn a title shot at the expense of Ortiz, who was as fresh as he had ever been heading into this fight off his win over Ryan Bader just this past July 2 in Las Vegas. It went exactly the way Evans said it would, his hands too quick and his wrestling too proficient for Tito to keep up with.
The first round saw everything fight fans were hoping for in a main event, with both fighters initially taking their time but quickly putting the pedal to the metal and making it a dog fight. Ortiz tried to get the fight to the floor and did so for a short time, to a chorus of cheers and a few "TITO" chants, mind you. Evans did the same, but set up his big takedown with a barrage of punches that staggered his nemesis. From there, he grabbed him up and dumped him on his back, a la Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard at UFC 125.
Things slowed down a bit into the second round but quickly heated up when Evans shot in for a takedown and fell straight into a guillotine choke, the same submission Ortiz used to put away Bader and resurrect his career just over month ago. Evans, though, slipped out and proceeded to dominate from on top, landing plenty of blows and passing into side control. Rashad even worked his way into a crucifix for a short time, which Tito resilently fought his way out of. He eventually threatened again with a footlock but couldn't complete the hold.
Once Ortiz got back to his knees, Evans opened up with punches, which Tito blocked the whole way. Unfortunately, that also meant he left his body open and "Suga" took advantage by landing a monster knee that put Ortiz down for the count. Follow up punches from Evans forced the stoppage with just 12 seconds to go in the second round.
He was promised a title shot with a win and he will leave "The City of Brotherly Love" with just that. On Sept. 24, Jon Jones will defend his 205-pound title against Quinton Jackson. Evans will eagerly be awaiting the winner.