Following his loss to Rashad Evans at Saturday’s UFC 133, MMAHEAT.com’s Karyn Bryant caught up with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz. Ortiz took the fight on only a few weeks notice, wanting to help out the UFC by adding his name to the main event in the stead of an injured Phil Davis. Though Evans looked dominant throughout much of the fight, Ortiz managed an early takedown, as well as a few submission attempts that teased the largely pro-Tito crowd.
When asked about coming up short, Tito responded. “I had that choke, and I was like ‘oh I got it.’ I slipped to that kneebar, and I was like ‘oh I got it.’ Rashad was just a lot stronger than he was prior, and he showed that 14 months can really pay off. He took it seriously, as he said.” Tito went on. “He was the better man. I guess you can’t fight the number one contender with only two and a half weeks of training.”
The choke to which Ortiz refers had the crowd particularly excited. After losing the first round, Ortiz looked to secure a guillotine choke, the same means by which he finished Ryan Bader just five weeks ago at UFC 132. Tito grasped for the choke and fell to his back. Rashad managed to slip to half-guard immediately, making the submission harder to pull off. Tito seemed to tighten his clasp, giving Evans pause. Rashad ultimately jarred his head free and proceeded to dish out what may be the Michigan State Spartan’s most vicious version of ground-and-pound he has yet to display in the Octagon.
Ortiz came into the fight with fresh momentum, but Rashad Evans looked to be in the best shape of his career after a 14-month layoff. The two traded takedowns and flurries on the feet before Rashad spent the better part of the first round hunting a mounted crucifix, peppering the ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ with shots in the process.
The second stanza saw Tito attempt the choke, landing under his opponent. Eventually getting to his knees against the fence, Rashad landed a devastating knee to Tito’s sternum that crumpled the former champ facedown to the canvas. At 4:48, the ref was forced to intervene with Evans hammering down punches from side back mount.
After a comeback submission attempt that likely brings back memories of the triangle attempt on Lyoto ‘the Dragon’ Machida at UFC 84, Ortiz seemed resolved with the loss. He congratulated Evans on the victory and said he wanted his opponent to go and take the title. Tito then said he would get to have his vacation after all, mentioning his family in a post-fight conversation with Joe Rogan, and saying he gave the fight his best shot.
You can check out the interview below: