Golden Boy MMA 1: “Liddell vs. Ortiz 3” took place last night (Sat., Nov. 24, 2018) at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., airing live on pay-per-view (PPV) courtesy of FITE TV. In the main event, a rivalry that dated back to the mid-2000’s reared its head one more time as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (19-12-1) took on Chuck Liddell (21-8) for the third and likely final time. True to his nature and his nickname “The Iceman” didn’t seem to be sweating the main event too much back in the locker room:
Meanwhile, an energetic Tito Ortiz was busily doing his OWN hand wraps for the fight:
Unfortunately for fans of “The Iceman,” last night was not his night. He tried to hang with the younger and fresher Ortiz, but he was backpedaling for the majority of the first round. And when he finally decided to stand and deliver the shots he ate in return wilted him. A right from Ortiz stunned him, a left to the chin cracked his icy facade, and one last right hand flush to his face crumbled him completely as he face planted and Herb Dean stepped in to save him at 4:24 by knockout.
Ortiz spoke to Frank Mir after finally beating his rival:
“Wooooooo! Jacob, I know you’re watching at home son. Thank you so much for that message before I came into the fight. I was happy and I was ready to fight. All my sons I love you, you know how hard dad works, I do it to pay the bills but I also do it to entertain these fans -- and I did it like I said I would! The whole game plan was to never go for a takedown. You’re not coming back after eight years in MY cage and beating me. Hell no! I gotta be respectful. Chuck Liddell thank you for taking this fight dude. You gave us an opportunity to start something great with Oscar De La Hoya. Hey, thank you. You pushed me hard. You made me work super super hard.”
They shook hands and hugged it out. Liddell also got an opportunity to talk to Mir, too:
“I got in great shape, he motivated me, I was ready for this fight and I got caught. I made a mistake and it is what it is. It wasn’t my best showing but I’ve got no excuses. I started getting comfortable and I got caught. We’re gonna have to sit back and think about it. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I got in shape and I hope I motivated a lot of other people to do the same. I was still able to perform. This is how champions do it. You have to fail to succeed. Any loss is a learning experience.”
Ortiz encouraged him to not retire and encouraged fighters to come to Golden Boy MMA.
The co-main event featured former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star and current professional wrestler “Filthy” Tom Lawlor (10-6, 1 NC) against the undefeated Deron Winn (4-0), who was fresh off a knockout at Bellator 199.
Lawlor made things interesting from the moment he walked out by lip syncing to Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die.” It’s possible he took those words to heart a little too much. Despite being the much taller fighter and having a three inch reach advantage, the compact and muscular wrestler Winn opened up cuts on both of Lawlor’s cheeks in the first round.
The second round finally saw Lawlor land some tough left hands that made Winn take a step back, which caused Lawlor to stop and smile at his opponent for a brief moment. The commentary debated who won the second afterward, as Lawlor landed more strikes overall, but “Filthy” seemed to be getting a pro wrestling style “crimson mask” from Winn’s strikes.
In the third round Winn finally decided to put his wrestling background to use and repeatedly take Lawlor to the ground, getting the riding time and doing damage on top as Lawlor struggled to regain his footing. At one point he pulled guard on a takedown attempt hoping to wrap an arm around Winn’s neck for a submission, but as Rashad Evans said on commentary, Winn doesn’t have a neck. In the end Winn took a unanimous decision (30-27 x3) before speaking to Frank Mir.
“Hey, wait, first and foremost, L.A. stand up baby let’s go! Everybody in the crowd tonight look at your calendars, mark it down, you saw a new star born and that’s Deron Winn. Let’s go! I went for the takedowns late to secure the win. I wanted to knock him out but Tom’s a tough vet and he’s got a big noggin -- all respect to Tom. I’m really confident in my power but the first couple times when I’d land with the overhand and follow with the 3 and he didn’t fall I was like oh shit -- I really gotta fight this dude! Oscar, let me know (what’s next) man. I’m a free agent baby!”
Two UFC veterans with more than 40 professional fights each met as Gleison Tibau (33-14) took on Efrain Escudero (30-13) in a bout contested at 160 pounds. With four straight losses in his last four fights, the pressure was on Tibau to perform well, and he seemed to have the better strikes throughout the first round. Escudero pressured in round two and had a couple of big rights before taking Tibau to the ground. Round three was back and forth until Tibau got a takedown at the four-minute mark.
All three judges ultimately scored it 29-28 for Tibau by unanimous decision before he spoke with Frank Mir:
“Efrain’s a tough guy you know? Big surprise for me. Because of me training, the best fighters in the world never take me down, big surprise for me. Yeah it’s a tough fight, last round, this last takedown you win this fight -- big win, thank God. De La Hoya, Golden Boy, I’m here. (Give me) anybody!!”
With only one blemish to his record, Combate Americas veteran “El Gallero” Ricky Palacios (10-1) looked to extended his win streak to eight against Walel Watson (14-11). He succeeded in that goal despite missing weight twice — first the originally scheduled weight of 135 pounds, then the agreed upon catch weight of 140. Watson had a significant height and reach advantage on paper but neither emerged when Palacios avoided his head kick and blasted Watson with an overhand right. When he caught Watson again later in the round he followed up with a left to the chin and a kick to the face that stopped the bout by knockout at 3:56 of round one.
Mir spoke to “El Gallero” Palacios about missing weight, but not missing his shots:
“I have a rough life, there’s a lot of obstacles I have to deal with before I get to where I’m at, a lot of people don’t know how hard this fucking life is. No excuses. I came here to do my job and I did what I had to do. Only thing I saw was that he was really lanky, I didn’t see too much technique, his strength is the ground but other than that I can stand and bang with whoever. I fight with all types of fighters so they’re not going to give me any trouble. I got three beautiful kids at home waiting for me so I’m going to go home and have my own Thanksgiving with them.”
Former UFC fighter Albert Morales (7-4-1) took on Bellator veteran James Barnes (10-3) in a Bantamweight bout moved up from the prelims to the main card. Barnes took him down repeatedly round after round, while Morales tried and failed to cinch up a triangle round after round, getting blasted in the head each time to the point his right eye was swelling shut and had to be checked by the doctor before the third round.
Barnes would have been way ahead on the scorecards, but his armbar victory at 4:09 made that academic. Mir interviewed Barnes and asked how he felt about that triangle. Barnes cut an interesting response:
“I love oranges! I just listened to my corner, do what they say, staying composed you know? Having fun. Not respecting it (the triangle choke). (I’ll) go back to Team Quest and get the next one. Let’s go!”
Rounding out the PPV card was a Heavyweight bout between the experienced Jay Silva (11-12-1) and the fresh young Oscar Cota (10-1).
Although Cota was reputed to be the top rated prospect at his weight in Latin America, the only round he dominated was the first, largely by pressing the muscular Silva into the cage to throw knees and stomp on his feet. Mike Beltran called for more action repeatedly and neither man seemed to heed his words.
Beltran got more than he bargained for in the second round when Silva rocked Cota early after taking a couple of leg kicks, then found Cota trying to illegally manipulate the gloves of Silva on the ground. He took a point away from Cota and stood the fighters up, at which point Cota hit a low blow and drew a stern warning — then hit a SECOND and earned his second deduction. Between the knockdowns and deductions Silva won this round 10-7.
Even though the scorecards would have been wild if necessary, Silva made them academic by countering a takedown with an escape and a takedown of his own, quickly passing the gassed Cota to full mount and working to a head and arm choke. When Cota seemed to go unconscious without tapping out Mike Beltran stopped the fight at 2:13.
Mir stepped into the hexagon to interview Silva off his third round finish:
“Whatever happens happens. Somebody told me your ground game is better than his. I did it and it paid off. I know he’s a tough guy but he hit me three times in the balls. When I knocked him down he was holding so hard to my gloves. I’m not complaining, it’s the fight game, you do what you have to do to survive.”
For complete “Liddell vs. Ortiz 3” coverage and post-fight card updates click HERE.