The UFC officially announced this week that former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will battle UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman at UFC 106 on Saturday, Nov. 21.
The 34-year-old returns to the organization after a year and a half break. During that time, he had back surgery and flirted with several promotions before re-signing with the UFC in July. Now that he is injury-free, Ortiz is looking to re-establish himself within one of the UFC’s deepest divisions.
“It’s like a homecoming for me,” Ortiz said. “The back is 100 percent and it’s great to be returning to the UFC. Styles make fights and our styles are exactly the same. I expect a war and I expect more excitement from this match than anything else this year. There are a lot of people out there that expect me to succeed and there are a lot of people out there that expect me to fail. But I feel great and I’m expecting to win back my belt.”
Ortiz is winless in his last three fights, but could still be a force in the light heavyweight division. 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.
UFC 106: Lesnar vs. Carwin takes place live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev on Saturday, Nov. 21. The event is headlined by a UFC heavyweight title defense by Brock Lesnar against Shane Carwin.