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History in the Making: Tito Ortiz takes on Frank Shamrock in their old school UFC classic

A crazy but true bit of trivia is that Tito Ortiz first stepped inside the Octagon at UFC 13.

Counting numbered pay-per-views (PPV), Fight Nights, and every other UFC special, that means "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" has seen over 160 events come and go.

And while most fans know him as an excuse-maker whose last win came over Ken Shamrock nearly five years ago, fans who have been following the sport since the old days remember the absolute wrecking machine that lorded over the light heavyweight division.

Five straight title defenses with wins over Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, and Vladimir Matyushenko punctuating that run. Ortiz was a menace, the overbearing shadow that eclipsed all other 205-pounders in the UFC for three years.

And it all started with one fight.

Before Ortiz steps into the cage at UFC 132: "Cruz vs. Faber" to take on Ryan Bader, I'll break down this classic bout that helped give birth to one of the most dominant champions in mixed martial arts (MMA) history.

Let's go.

Holding a 3-1 UFC record going into his title fight at UFC 22, Ortiz represented what the future of MMA would be. Rather than single-discipline martial artists or tough guys who swung leather around with reckless abandon, those entering the sport were elite athletes with wrestling or boxing pedigrees.

Frank Shamrock was nothing to sneeze at either. He can be looked at as probably the first true mixed martial artist -- able to throw down on his feet while also holding his own on the mat.

He was dominating the division, much like "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" would later, and their fight was an early classic, a back and forth battle between two athletes at the peak of the sport.

Let's take a closer look.

The champion immediately throws a kick to the body that Ortiz catches and uses to drop Shamrock onto his back. Within a minute, the wrestler is shooting on and getting his opponent to the mat.

Shamrock scrambles underneath and teases with an armbar but the submission attempt goes nowhere. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" takes his place on top of the champion and begins to pound away with punches and elbows.

But "Legend" isn't just going to lay idly by and allow himself to take blow after blow. He dishes out his own punches from underneath while constantly working to improve his position.

The entire first round is the story of Ortiz's stifling top control, however. Although Shamrock is able to get back to his feet in the final minute, Ortiz grinds him against the cage and slams him back down.

The champion opens up the second round by letting his hands and feet go, throwing combinations and kicks to the head and body of his opponent. This strategy doesn't seem to work for Shamrock either as Ortiz is quick to put him on his back again.

Working exclusively from Shamrock's guard, the Mexican-American fighter punishes his opponent for the entirety of the round. Postured up punches and short elbows are the weapon of choice in the second, a round that had little to no offense from the champion.

"Legend" is now down two rounds to none and is in very real danger of losing not only his perfect UFC record but his title as well.

Now 10 minutes into the round, Shamrock must realize that allowing Ortiz to take him down will only lead to a loss. Despite this, he's once again on his back within the first minute.

Showing off his grappling chops, the champ -- who was getting punched from side mount -- gives up his back but immediately scrambles and gets Ortiz to his guard before popping out onto his feet.

Now bloody and beginning to bruise, the champion eats a snapping jab from Ortiz before giving up yet another takedown. Like the previous two rounds, Ortiz ends the third on top of the champion. At the sound of the horn, he looks winded as he walks back to his corner.

Ortiz is almost guaranteed a decision should the fight go to the judges. The champion -- if he wishes to retain that descriptor -- needs to finish the young, brash challenger.

Going into the championship rounds, Shamrock pelts Ortiz's legs with kicks that will surely take some of the snap from the wrestler's takedowns. A minor victory for the champion, he's managed to stay on his feet for over a minute and a half.

But when threatened with the champion's superior stand-up, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" reverts to combat instincts and shoots in, putting Shamrock on his back yet again to a chorus of boos.

The fatigued challenger finally begins to open up with 90 seconds remaining in the round. Meanwhile, the entire time on his back, Shamrock has been landing punches. 

Finally, the champion strikes. He sweeps Ortiz up and cover and both fighters get to their feet. Having his opponent pressed up against the cage, Shamrock begins to throw punch after punches, realizing Ortiz is nearly running on empty.

A takedown attempt from Ortiz lands him in danger of being submitted via guillotine. Shamrock rolls Ortiz onto his back, releases the submission, and tries to get back to his feet while the challenger latches onto a leg.

Unwilling to let go of Shamrock's limb, Ortiz left himself open to strikes. And the champion was happy to oblige him.

Finding his balance, Shamrock stood steady and landed hammer fist after hammer fist against the easy target of Ortiz's skull.

Unable to absorb more damage, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" taps the mat.

Shamrock showed the heart of a champion that night -- weathering the storm and coming back to snatch victory when all hope was nearly lost.

Ortiz used that night to become a champion -- his stamina had failed him and he would never allow the same to happen again. He may be winless in his last five fights but four of these went the distance and the former 205-pound champion never faltered.

It's a shame that Ortiz's career has become somewhat of a caricature of what it was once. A formidable champion has been reduced to making excuses, dropping out of fights, and getting all but pushed into retirement.

Tito Ortiz was once one of the baddest men inside the Octagon.

And it seems he has only one more chance to remind us of that.

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