Two former champions settled their unfinished business last night (July 7, 2012) as former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin sent the longest reigning light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz into retirement in the co-main event of UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ortiz had an emotional day, being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame just eight hours earlier, but he came out fighting like a lion.
In fact, all the big moments of this fight actually belonged to the former "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" who now calls himself "The People's Champion."
So despite that, how in the world did Griffin clearly win a unanimous decision? And where do both men go from here?
Follow me after the jump for our Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz 3 UFC 148 post-fight review and analysis:
Just like in the prior two installments, Ortiz came out strong, scoring a big takedown early and dropping a few elbows and punches from inside Griffin's guard. Unlike the first two fights, however, Griffin was able to get up with over three minutes left to work and Ortiz never threatened him again for the remainder of the round.
Griffin was just a step quicker on the feet and much, much more active and accurate with both his punches and kicks to dominate the final 2/3 of the first round.
Just when we thought Tito might be done, he came out guns blazing in the second round and dropped Griffin with a huge right hand but he simply could not put The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season one winner away on the feet.
Once Griffin recovered, it was more of the same, showcasing superior footwork, conditioning and volume of strikes and Ortiz had no answer after that initial barrage.
Again, we thought Tito was toast, but "The People's Champion" dug deep and dropped Griffin again in the third round, this time making the Las Vegas native do a backwards somersault ala Heath Herring versus Brock Lesnar. Ortiz actually followed up this time by scoring a big takedown and beating on Griffin to actually take the third and final round.
Unfortunately for the 27 fight UFC veteran, it simply wasn't enough, but you couldn't tell Griffin that as he bailed out of the Octagon following the final horn, convinced that he'd lost.
In the end, the judges rightfully gave Griffin the unanimous decision, awarding him the first two rounds, but then the TUF 1 winner blew it by stealing Tito's big retiremHis big problem was those moments were fleeting, especially in the first two frames. He couldn't follow-up on those moments with sustained offense and he allowed Griffin to take over and steal back the rounds. What I did appreciate was that he didn't fall apart in the third round like he did in the second fight. He still had something left and he made sure to leave it all in the Octagon. Fans can appreciate that.
There's no next opponent as the newest UFC Hall of Famer is officially retired now, but I want to wish Ortiz a happy rest of his career in whatever he decides to do.
For Forrest Griffin, yes, he won, but he didn't light the world on fire by any means. He had no big moments, just a bunch of little moments strung together, but it was enough to (deservedly) sway the judges to his side. That being said, he looked old and his chin is not very good anymore. He got knocked down twice by Ortiz in the second and third rounds and that's usually when Ortiz is slower and less powerful so that's scary. Also, his post-fight antics were ridiculous. Leaving the cage, stealing Tito's moment and then dropping to the ground all goofy-like after getting booed. It was extremely uncomfortable and weird.
In all honesty, I don't know if I want to see Griffin fight again. If he does, they could throw him to the wolves like Alexander Gustafsson to help build up the next generation, or perhaps he could have that long-awaited rematch against Quinton Jackson in a "both guys leave town" fight.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was this bout deserving of "Fight of the Night?" What did you think of Griffin's post-fight antics? Do you want to see Griffin fight again?