SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/22: Tito Ortiz soundly defeats Chael Sonnen in his farewell MMA fight (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Tito Ortiz (photo credit Justin Ford @ USA Today Sports)

Tito Ortiz finished his career on talk with a submission victory over a returning trash-talking Chael Sonnen.

Ortiz won the fight that saw him go in as a slight underdog. It was evident from the weigh-ins, though, that Ortiz was the much bigger fighter than Sonnen, who has been mostly a career middleweight who came up to 205 for his Bellator debut.

It also appeared that either the years away from the sport or a lack of TRT or other substances Sonnen has been known to have used had an effect on Sonnen’s physique.

It was a quick affair that went to the ground early. Ortiz took Sonnen down to the mat. Sonnen was able to gain position and made two submission attempts, but left an opening for Ortiz to take mount and tap Sonnen out, holding on to the choke for a few extra seconds, a move our own Michael Grocke called “B.S.” in his live report.

Ortiz admitted that he did hold on to the choke too long, telling press after the fight that he “held on to it because I have ill will towards him.”

Ortiz had announced ahead of time that this would be his last fight, win or lose. This is actually the second announced retirement for Ortiz who had previously retired following a July 2012 loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 148. After that fight, Griffin took the mic and tried to interview Ortiz, somewhat stepping on and ruining Ortiz’s moment. This time Ortiz got his time on the mic uninterrupted. Ortiz took the time to thank his coaches and the fans, and got to watch his son leave his gloves in the center of the cage following the fight in a ceremonial moment.

Ortiz finishes his professional MMA career with a 19-12-1 record. He is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the sport, but has to be considered an important building block in bringing UFC to prominence in the mid-2000s.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: The fight went pretty close to how I thought it might, with Ortiz using his size to his advantage and Sonnen eventually giving up the submission, something he is prone to do. I agree with Michael Grocke that I’m not sure how competitive Sonnen can be going forward, as he clearly isn’t the same fighter from a few years ago. A move down to middleweight and perhaps a fight with Wanderlei Silva if they can make it happen will keep him busy, but I wouldn’t want to see Sonnen against any of Bellator’s younger crop of top ranked fighters.

Ortiz had a way of annoying fans the way he spoke much of his career, but I hope that in time, we can see it as an endearing trait to remember him by. Nonetheless, he should be recognized as an important builder of the sport, specifically in 2006. That year, he coached “The Ultimate Fighter” in a season that set ratings records for the time, headlined two record-setting pay-per-views against Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell, and also did another big TV number with Shamrock. Ortiz was a major part of 2006 being a year of phenomenal growth for UFC.


-Chael Sonnen admitted to having some cage rust after the fight last night, saying that he needed to get some “minutes in” of live fighting after three years away from the cage.

-Bellator announced on the show last night that Rampage Jackson and King Mo will face off in a rematch at Bellator 175 on March 31.

-After his huge knockout win last night over Brennan Ward, Paul Daley called out Rory MacDonald. MacDonald responded on Twitter with a video of actor Zach Galifianakis laughing with the caption: “When Paul Daley says he will KO Rory MacDonald inside a Bellator cage.”

-Junior dos Santos tweeted that he will be off the Feb. 19 Halifax card after UFC was unable to find him an opponent after Stefan Struve had to pull out of their main event matchup.

-Jeremy Kimball is stepping in for John Phillips to fight Marcos Rogerio de Lima this weekend at the UFC on Fox show from Denver.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S REPORT: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/21: Final shots taken by Chael Sonnen against Tito Ortiz’s legacy (w/Cervantes Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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