HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Oct. 10 — Tito Ortiz (Pictures) heard the excuses. After his first fight with Ken Shamrock (Pictures) he heard all about the knee injury that did not let Shamrock fight up to his full potential. And he surely heard the boos and taunts after his 78-second dismantling of “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” this past July. The only thing he heard after Tuesday’s fight was the adoring cheers of a crowd once again in love with the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
In an eerily similar sequence to their July bout, Ortiz secured a takedown and went to work early in the first round with his trademark scalpel-like elbows. After softening Shamrock up, Ortiz went to the heavy artillery, riddling his archrival with a series of punches that relieved the veteran of his faculties.
Shamrock’s referee of choice, “Big” John McCarthy, was there to rescue the fallen fighter at the 2:23 mark of the first round. As Shamrock lay prone on the mat, his right leg stiff and protruding into the air, Ortiz climbed the cage in celebration before breaking out his “grave digger” celebration.
“He felt a lot stronger than he did last time,” Ortiz said of the 42-year-old Shamrock. “I was just working to the body. I hit him to the rib really hard and he fought, he fought really tough. I hit him with a really good elbow and I felt him go limp. I hit really, really hard elbows. I hit him with a couple of really good shots off the bat and I felt his arms go limp. I just got a flashback of the last time we fought. This time I was going to finish it with punches instead of elbows. [Referee John] McCarthy says 'Ken, defend yourself' and at that time I hit him with five or six really hard punches. McCarthy did his job, stepped in the middle and the fight ended the way I wanted it to end, with a knockout."
Ortiz and Shamrock also apparently buried the hatched in their long-running soap opera.
"Me and Ken had our differences inside this Octagon,” Ortiz said. “We finally got our dispute settled between each other. I apologize for the antics I did after. It's a part of the game, part of entertaining.”
“I want to thank you for giving a great fight,” he told Shamrock. “You know, you've always been an awesome guy and someone I looked up to, so you know what you've made me a better fighter.”
Ortiz will now face UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (Pictures) on December 30, another rematch for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” of a fight that has left a bitter taste in his mouth for over two years now.
Ortiz will be a heavy underdog against the man who took him out fairly easily in their first fight. But with his ultimate goal in sight — the title that he covets so much — Ortiz promises a different kind of performance for December.
“I am a totally, completely different fighter than then,” Ortiz said. “I’m a lot more mature, you know. I’m a lot wiser and I train the right way now. It’s just one of those things that this fight, I wanna do it. The last time I fought, I got pressed into something I didn’t wanna do.”
As for Shamrock, his future is still up in the air. A third loss to Ortiz cemented the fact that he just does not measure up to the younger fighters now prowling the upper echelons of the mixed martial arts world.
Shamrock told Sherdog.com that while his mind and spirit are still willing, his body just cannot deliver the way it once did.
“[In] my heart and my mind, I’m still, I’m still a competitor — but my body’s just not following,” the 13-year UFC veteran said. “So it’s a pretty strong realization that I just can’t compete with these guys anymore.”
Shamrock also alluded to his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, where it sounded like Shamrock had announced his retirement. “I didn’t wanna lead anyone on whether I was gonna retire or not retire, but I don’t wanna lead anyone on to think that I’m going to be back either.”
“I’m not leaning one way or the other right now. I’m just gonna relax a little bit,” declared Shamrock, who said he wanted to take some time to reflect on the situation with his family and agent before coming to a final decision.
Televised Under Card
Kendall Grove (Pictures) defeated the previously unbeaten Chris Price, needing less than four minutes to put him away with a vicious ground-and-pound attack.
Grove, fighting for the first time since winning season three’s middleweight contract on The Ultimate Fighter, showed off an impressive top game, something he undoubtedly has improved since training full time with Tito Ortiz (Pictures).
The finishing sequence saw Grove move to the mount and unload an impressive barrage of elbows to a helpless Price, who was forced to tap at 3:59 of the opening frame.
While Ed Herman (Pictures) came in as the favorite in his bout against Canadian Jason MacDonald (Pictures), well-informed observers knew it would be no walk in the park for the Team Quest fighter. It ended up turning into a nightmare for Herman, as he quickly found himself in the unenviable position of defending a deep triangle choke. MacDonald worked for the choke from the moment the fight hit the mat and at the 2:43 mark of the first round he had no choice but to tapout or go to sleep.
Matt Hamill jumped into the deep end early in his career as a mixed martial artist. Taking on a very seasoned veteran in Seth Petruzelli (Pictures), Hamill was looking to make a statement. That statement was made loud and clear after Hamill took it to his more experienced opponent for much of the 15-minute affair.
The only bobble for Hamill came in the second round when he was dropped to the mat with a head kick. But he quickly recovered and took Petruzelli down to the canvas where the powerful wrestler had a marked advantage.
By dominating rounds one and three, Hamill secured the unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Off Television Bouts
Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) continued his climb up the ladder that is the UFC middleweight division with a submission victory over Crafton Wallace (Pictures).
Taking on a veteran kickboxer in Wallace, an opponent Marquardt told Sherdog.com he knew next to nothing about, Nate “The Great” showed good poise and finished in a flash early in the second round.
The beginning of the end came when Wallace tried to kick Marquardt in the opening moments of the second stanza. The Greg Jackson-trained Marquardt caught the kick and swept Wallace’s plant leg. It was a done deal once it hit the mat and Marquardt was able to sink a rear-naked choke at 1:14 of the second period after Wallace gave up his back shortly after the bout hit the ground.
Tony DeSouza (Pictures) made a successful return after a five-year hiatus from fighting in the UFC. Taking on a young and talented Dustin Hazelett (Pictures), DeSouza showed the composure of a veteran as he worked himself free from a dangerous triangle choke in the early going.
Once liberated, DeSouza passed to side-control where he secured a painful looking Kimura that elicited the tapout from Hazelett at 3:59 of the first round.
In what was named the fight of the night, Rory Singer and Josh Haynes (Pictures), both veterans of The Ultimate Fighter, thrilled the crowd with 15 minutes of nonstop action.
Highlights of the bout included Singer’s head kick near the end of the first frame, a brutal strike that spun Haynes violently into the cage and cut him on the bridge of the nose. With only seconds remaining in the round, Haynes was able to survive. Haynes had his moment in the second period when he landed a lead left-overhand right combination that sent Singer careening to the canvas.
Singer, too, was able to recover, taking a dominating third round — a round that saw the fight stopped on two occasions to check the bloody cut on Haynes’ nose — to win a unanimous decision with scores of 29-28 on all three judge’s cards.
Singer and Haynes reportedly earned $15,000 bonuses for the fight of the night.
Thiago Alves (Pictures) was the hometown favorite in his bout with John Alessio (Pictures) and he did not disappoint. From the get go, Alves chopped away at Alessio’s lead left leg, first to the inside and later to the outside.
It became apparent in the early going that Alessio would not be able to implement his game plan of taking the fight to the ground, as Alves consistently rebuffed his takedown attempts. With superior striking ability, Alves garnered the unanimous decision win by scores of 30-27 on all cards.
Marcus Davis scored the biggest win of his MMA career by taking out a very tough Forrest Petz (Pictures), the same welterweight who brutalized Sam Morgan (Pictures) in his UFC debut this past August. Davis survived a very bloody cut on the bridge of his nose, courtesy of a Petz knee, to lock up a guillotine choke and a submission win at 4:58 of the first round.