Different Griffin, same old Tito
Preview by Brady Crytzer
Their first fight was a spectacular one, and the end result was one of the most controversial decisions in UFC history.
Now, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz returns to the Octagon to meet former world light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin in the main event of Saturday night’s UFC 106. While Ortiz earned the judges’ nod the first time around, Griffin is no longer an unproven flicker in the cosmos of the light heavyweight division.
Will time be the difference for Griffin or does redemption elude The Ultimate Fighter Season One winner yet again? Can Ortiz get back to his championship ways or will father time KO the original bad boy once and for all?
Striking: While neither of these men are striking standouts, the edge has to fall to the perpetually active Griffin. Known for his tenacious training regimen and constant pursuit of perfection, Ortiz has set the tone for fitness in mixed martial arts. He has shown a willingness to employ tight boxing in the past, but he is visibly uncomfortable in the standup and has never used it with any success. At best his boxing is a manageable set up for a takedown. Griffin on the other hand has made a career out of staying in the pocket and trading haymakers, sometimes to his detriment. He was able to go blow-for-blow with moderate punchers like Stefan Bonnar and Hector Ramirez, but he has also paid dearly when trading with KO punchers like Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, and pound for pound king Anderson Silva.
Griffin has fallen into traps in the past, particularly when trading blows with big punchers. Ortiz however is a notoriously weak boxer and Griffin will surely get the better of any potential exchanges.
Grappling: Griffin is said to have excellent submissions skills in the gym, but when the real fight begins his technique has been lacking. Technique is all he will have against the much stronger Ortiz. As in their first fight Tito has proven time and again to be one of the most dominant fighters in the world from the top position. Whether it be wrestling, control, submission defense, or ground n’ pound “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” can easily be ranked among the best in the world in the light heavyweight division. There is a reason that Ortiz still holds the record for most successful title defenses, and longest reign, of any 205 lb. champion in UFC history.
Ortiz combines strong wrestling, advanced cardio, and smashing ground n’ pound to dominate opponents from the top position. Griffin’s takedown defense is not great, and it will fail him on November 21st.
How They Match Up: Their first match was one of the most controversial bouts in UFC history. While we take Griffin’s presence in big fights for granted in 2009, Ortiz was a serious test for first Ultimate Fighter winner in 2006.
Griffin was unproven with only three Octagon victories, and Ortiz was still at the top of his game only three fights removed from his record breaking title reign.
The fight was ferocious and this time around…it won’t be much different.
Ortiz dominated the ground game with strong wrestling while Griffin accumulated points with stiff jab and sloppy, but effective, right cross.
Many feel Griffin was slighted as the decision went to Ortiz, and rightfully so. There won’t be a mistake this time.
Watch for Griffin to have trouble with the takedowns of Ortiz early, but expect the tried and true Griffin to use his cardio and experience to pick Ortiz apart on the feet and get the judges’ nod.