Rumors have been circulating for weeks, but now Fighters Only Magazine has confirmed that Tito Ortiz (15-6-1) will face Mark “The Hammer” Coleman (16-9) in his first bout since Ortiz’s contract ended last year. The “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” had back surgery during a lengthy layoff and flirted with several promotions before re-signing with the UFC last month. The two will reportedly square off at UFC 106 in Las Vegas on November 21st.
Ortiz was once the poster boy of the UFC and held the UFC’s light heavyweight crown between 2000 and 2003. He defended his title for a record five straight title defenses before losing the title to Randy Couture at UFC 44. Now that he is healthy and happy with his contract, Ortiz will look to re-establish himself within one of the UFC’s deepest divisions. Ortiz is winless in his last three fights but could still be a force in the light heavyweight division. He lost to current and former light heavyweight champions Lyoto Machida and Chuck Liddell and battled to a draw with former champ Rashad Evans in his most recent matches. In his last outing, Ortiz was almost able to submit Machida with a triangle and an armbar with just thirty seconds remaining in the match but Machida escaped and controlled most of the fight to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Coleman returned to the UFC in January at UFC 93 after a ten year absence. “The Hammer” is a UFC Hall of Famer and is often considered one of the earliest practitioners of the “ground and pound” style of fighting. The 44 year old former Ohio State national wrestling champion rose to prominence in the UFC when he captured the UFC’s heavyweight title over a decade ago. In his recent return to the UFC, Coleman was defeated in a rematch against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Concerns about Coleman’s endurance and stamina were raised as he gassed early in the fight against an unimpressive Rua. Coleman answered his doubters in his last bout by beating veteran Stephan Bonnar via a unanimous decision at UFC 100 in July.
The Ortiz versus Coleman matchup pits two former wrestlers with very similar fighting styles against each other in a battle to ascend the light heavyweight division’s ranks. Fans of Ortiz and Coleman are anxious to find out how much each fighter has left and whether either can still make a run at the title in the light heavyweight division.