Bellator 170 was this past weekend and was MMA legend Tito Ortiz’s final match. Let’s get right to the rundown.
GOOD: Derek Campos vs. Derek Anderson
This one was all about the pace and the relentless nature of both fighters. It didn’t feel like either guy took a step backwards during the fight. Campos won the decision but it was really close. And really fun. The fight primarily took place on the feet, but they battled elsewhere as well. Wherever they went, there was constant action, though. You got to love and appreciate the effort from both guys. They also showed a lot of heart. I really liked this fight. Good win for Campos.
GOOD/BAD: Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
This was one of those solid fights. Not great, but not really bad either. Karakhanyan got deducted a point in the second round for two illegal blows to a downed opponent and that likely cost him the win here. Sanchez won the majority decision.
UGLY: Hisaki Kato vs. Ralek Gracie
This fight sucked. Neither guy did a damn thing worth mentioning in the fight. Kato “won” the decision, pretty much by default as Gracie did almost nothing. Just complete garbage. I don’t know what happened here, but both are capable of better. At least, you imagine they are.
GOOD: Paul Daley stops Brennan Ward
Ward had some success with the takedowns, but then Daley turned the lights out with a sick knee that ended things. They had to stretcher Ward out, but it appeared as though it was just precautionary as Ward gave a thumbs up on the way out. That’s good news because that was a brutal flying knee from Daley. After the fight, Daley called out Rory MacDonald. We’ll have to wait a bit to see if that fight becomes official, but there’s plenty of options for Daley.
GOOD: Tito Ortiz submits Chael Sonnen
Ortiz took control with his strength and grappling and locked in the submission in about two minutes for the win. He looked pretty good. Some of that is likely that Sonnen didn’t look good, but it’s good for Ortiz to go out with a win. I don’t know where Sonnen goes from here; I don’t know what he wants to do. Hell, he might not know what he wants to do. The question becomes who could he beat? That is, if he actually wants to continue fighting. I’m sure whatever he chooses to do next, we’ll hear about it in some big press conference or some other splashy event.
As for Ortiz, I suspect there will be a myriad of different takes on his career from all sources. He’s a very polarizing figure – some love him and some hate him. Some might try to discredit him while others would anoint him as one of the best ever. Depending on which side you’re on, you probably find the other to be laughable.
I’ll remember Tito for his brash style and his trilogy with Ken Shamrock. However, it was his first fight against Chuck Liddell that I remember most. I remember the hype around was unbelievable, at least among my social circle. This was also when we were still really getting back into the UFC so we’re like little kids. I’m sure I misremember, but it felt like Liddell threw about 30 straight punches to stop Ortiz in the second round. It just seemed like a hurricane, an avalanche, of punches from Liddell.
I also remember Ortiz and Ken Shamrock as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 3. I’d always been a Shamrock fan, but this season really made me see these guys in a different light. Shamrock came off like a grumpy old man and Ortiz came off as a caring father figure, someone who went above and beyond for his team. Was it a show for the cameras? Probably, but I didn’t care. Hell, the whole series is nothing but a show for the cameras. Back then, though, it was still fresh, it was exciting. I liked it, and it made me like Ortiz.
I’ll also remember the stints Ortiz had in TNA wrestling. He was ahead of his time when it came to marketing and how you present yourself to people. He seemed at ease on camera, and when he got interviewed he didn’t seem to develop a case of the swollen tongue that seems to plague so many fighters even today.
Tito Ortiz was an original. Without him, the world of MMA would be vastly different. Whether you like him or not, that much is true. He was one of the sport’s original stars and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. He’s had his issues, but when it comes to the sports side of things, he deserves credit for the things he’s done.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 103 with B.J. Penn, Rodriguez, Pettis, Saunders, Lauzon
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow Frank on Twitter at @hydenfrank.