Photo of Forrest Griffin by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.
The co-main event of the UFC 148: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2" card tonight (Sat., July 7, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featured Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin completing their trilogy with a rubber match to decide once and for all who the better man is between them.
It was also Ortiz's retirement fight, as he promised to hang up the gloves after 15 years in the fight game. For his part, Griffin essentially said he would have to contemplate the same if he couldn't defeat "The People's Champ."
He won on the judges scorecards but he should still be contemplating.
Ortiz gassed early and looked as though he had little chance of even surviving to the final horn but he not only did he manage to do so, he dropped Griffin multiple times and scored enough takedowns to seemingly earn a decision victory.
But when the scorecards were read, they all came in 29-28 for Griffin.
Forrest opened with a high kick that Tito blocked. That seemed to set the pace early, as Griffin continued coming with the kicks. Ortiz tried to respond with power punches but Griffin appeared to be ready for them.
The first takedown of the fight came just as soon as Ortiz rushed him and got his paws around him. Naturally, he immediately started in with the elbows and punches. He couldn't keep Forrest on the mat for long, though, and they reset with two minutes having gone by.
At this point they started brawling, exchanging punches and kicks. The next takedown attempt from Tito failed thanks to a good sprawl from Forrest. His punches didn't seem to be having a ton of effect, but he was getting the better of the fight on the feet.
Ortiz tried to close the round with one more takedown, and appeared to briefly get Forrest off his feet, but it lasted less than one second before the horn sounded.
Tito landed a big right hand early in the second that dropped Griffin. "The People's Champ" rushed in to close it out just as a big "TITO" chant rang throughout the arena. But Forrest survived and Ortiz looked tired and worn.
Forrest, as he always does, stood in the pocket and traded punches with his opponent. He mixed in kicks, too, and they may have contributed to Ortiz's lack of energy. As the minutes wore on, Griffin stayed steady with the pressure while Tito looked less and less like he wanted to be there.
By the end of the second, Ortiz had essentially given away the round, despite a late takedown.
Tito's corner urged him to let it all hang out in the final frame, seeing as it represented the last five minutes of his career as an active mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
And then Ortiz landed a big punch that sent Griffin flying across the cage for another knockdown. Unbelievably enough, he got a takedown not long after it. He was tired, but he was making his offense count.
With roughly two minutes to go, Griffin finally got back to his feet. Forrest proceeded to unload with what he had left, throwing every punch in his playbook. Ortiz let it all hang out too and by the time the horn sounded, it looked like Tito went out on a win.
So much so that Forrest just walked out of the cage and tried to go to the back. He came back after Dana White ran him down but it was clear how he felt about it.
Unbelievably enough, the judges awarded him the fight anyway.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's live ongoing coverage of the UFC 148 main card by clicking here.