Patchwork UFC 106 sees Griffin defeat Ortiz

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By Chad Wuttke

When the event was announced, we were looking at Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin in the main event.  An illness to Lesnar postponed the match and we were given Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin as the new main event.  A fight with two big names, but also two losing streaks.

Ortiz returned to the UFC after 18 months of bickering with Dana White, impregnating his pornstar wife Jenna Jameson, back surgery, a failed stint on The Apprentice, and an embarrassing showing as an commentator for Affliction. (search youtube for “Tito + mic =”)

Forrest Griffin returned to the octagon following losses to Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva and was desperate for a victory.  The former champion was tooled around the cage in his last performance against Silva and needed a fight to boost his confidence.MMA UFC 106 Ortiz Forrest 20091119

Enter Tito Ortiz.

The Huntington Beach Bad Boy, who made his UFC debut in 1997 at UFC 13, has always been known for selling a fight and he did his best despite apparently having a fractured skull (if you saw the event, you saw his black eye).  Although his legacy will someday be cemented in the UFC Hall of Fame, Ortiz hasn’t tasted victory inside the cage in over three years.  Time has caught up to Ortiz’s trademark takedown, and without top level standup, Ortiz has become a one-trick-pony.  Many in the business feel the 2009 version of Ortiz is outdated and irrelevant.

These two met once before at UFC 59 where Ortiz grinded out a controversial split decision victory.  The rematch would be eerily similar some three and a half years later.

Ortiz’s only way to win this fight was to utilize his wrestling skills and deliver some vintage ground and pound and that’s just what he did for the better part of the first two rounds.  Ortiz didn’t do much damage until the second round when he landed some brutal elbow strikes which gave us all a chance to  see Griffin’s trademark, blood.

After two hotly contested rounds, Griffin turned it up in the third round by stuffing a sluggish takedown attempt from Ortiz and unleashing some solid punching combinations of his own.  Ortiz threw maybe three punches in the third round and seemed content with dragging it to a decision.  Seeing Ortiz offer nothing in the third, it was disappointing to see Forrest not finish Ortiz in the fashion he did against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.   Still, the fight went to the judges and Griffin was awarded a split decision victory.

That’s two fights and two split decision victories for each.  It looks like we may see Ortiz-Griffin 3 in the future and if Ortiz had his wish, we might see these two as coaches on the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

The night’s co-main event saw two young guns with title aspirations lock horns in what turned out to be a battle of eye pokes and illegal strikes.  Josh Koschek and his annoying smugness faced off against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and his 220 pound frame in a welterweight contender match.

Rumble started the fight by utilizing his reach advantage by landing a number of stinging leg kicks.  Koschek, who has faced a who’s who in the division, remained patient and was able to avoid any sizable damage.  The fight changed however following an illegal knee from Johnson to a downed Koschek and Rumble was deducted a point for the infraction.  Koschek returned with two accidental eye pokes of his own in the second round and followed with his bread and butter, ground and pound.  Koschek dropped a series of elbows and when Johnson gave him his back, Koschek locked in a rear naked choke for the victory.

Following the fight, Koschek called out UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, a man he lost to at UFC 74.  With GSP already locked into a fight with Dan Hardy, Koschek will perhaps be looking at another rematch against a fighter who was also victorious at UFC 106, Paulo Thiago.

Another fight with title implications saw Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (known as Lil Nog in the forums) face off against blue chip prospect Luis Arthur Cane.  It was Nogueira’s night as the younger brother of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira used his boxing skills to knockout Cane with a vicious left hand.

With such a devastating knockout in his UFC debut, Lil Nog now thrusts himself into title contention.  Fights with Rashad Evans, Rich Franklin, or Thiago Silva could be in his future.