UFC light heavyweight fighter Matt “The Hammer” Hamill toppled his former coach and MMA pioneer Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz tonight at UFC 121 in Anaheim, California after surviving an early surge from the former light heavyweight champ.
At the very first bell Ortiz rushed Hamill with kicks and punches that put the deaf wrestler on his heels. “The Hammer” adjusted quickly though, scooping Ortiz up off of a kick and depositing him on the canvas. Ortiz popped back up and even though he landed the higher volume of strikes for the rest of the first round, Hamill clearly delivered more damage; leaving Ortiz bleeding and swollen heading back to his corner. Hamill came out in the second looking more at ease with his striking, landing kicks and punches that looked to be slowing Ortiz. Once Hamill decided to take Ortiz down, he smothered the brash Californian and damaged with elbows and punches for the remainder of the round. The third round saw both fighters slowing their respective attacks but Hamill still held the edge in the stand up department. After Ortiz failed on a takedown attempt of his own, “The Hammer” dumped Ortiz to the ground again and rode out the rest of the round landing shots and controlling from the top position.
“There are two words I want to tell you,” Hamill said to Ortiz after the fight. “Thank you.”
“I’m happy that this fight is over because I had a lot of pressure heading into it,” he continued. “I feel like I controlled the wrestling. That’s something I wanted to prove because Tito is such a good wrestler. I was able to control him and I still have a lot of work to do but a win over Tito is huge.”
With the win, Hamill makes it five in a row inside the Octagon (with one win coming by way of disqualification-illegal elbows over Jon Jones) and 10-2 as a professional overall. Ortiz falls to 0-4-1 in his last five but claimed no excuses at the post-fight press conference, calling Hamill the better man and pledging to return with a win.