Tito Ortiz tried to warn us. His main UFC 132 promo talking points centered around a defense of his five-fight, fight-year winless streak. He tried to remind us that, save for a beating at the hands of Matt Hamill, he was competitive throughout all his losses, all of which were to top-tier opponents like Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.
But fans have heard Ortiz cry wolf and blow smoke before. He entered the Octagon last night with his back to the wall as a heavy underdog against Ryan Bader, who was just coming off a fight with Jon Jones, the man who would go on to become champion. Bader had only one blemish on his record. Now he has two.
Ortiz’s elated reaction after submitting Bader via guillotine was matched only by the roars of the crowd. As unbelievable as it all was, the house seemed to be full of Ortiz fans (minus one Chuck Liddell, who looked absolutely flabbergasted). For this night, for this one moment, how could anyone resist not being happy for the Huntington Beach Bad Boy? He defied everyone’s expectations, perhaps even his own. And he purchased an extended warranty on his fight career, good for at least one or two more high profile matches.
We’ll see if young prospects in the light heavyweight division will still view calling out Tito Ortiz as a smart career move.
If Ortiz defied expectations, bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz lived up to them. In a fantastic, highly competitive five-round fight with rival Urijah Faber — the only man to ever have beaten him — Cruz weathered more than a couple heavy shots that dropped him to the mat, pressured with takedowns and angled striking attacks, and walked (more like shuffled) away with the scorecards.
Other highlights of the night included a devastating flying knee by Carlos Condit, who leaped into the air and knocked out Dong Hyun Kim in the first round, and a whip quick knockout of Wanderlei Silva by Chris Leben. Full results and motion gif of Ortiz’s big win below.
Dominick Cruz def. Urijah Faber via unanimous decision
Chris Leben def. Wanderlei Silva via TKO (punches), round one
Tito Ortiz def. Ryan Bader via submission (guillotine choke), round one
Carlos Condit def. Dong Hyun Kim via TKO (flying knee, punches), round one
Dennis Siver def. Matt Wiman via unanimous decision
Rafael dos Anjos def. George Sotiropoulos via KO (punch), round one
Melvin Guillard def. Shane Roller via KO (punches), round one
Brian Bowles def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision
Aaron Simpson def. Brad Tavares via unanimous decision
Jeff Hougland def. Donny Walker via unanimous decision
Anthony Njokuani def. Andre Winner via unanimous decision
Lessons learned: Never underestimate your opponent. Even when he’s Tito Ortiz.
Pic sources: BLOODY ELBOW