The fighter formerly known as The Huntington Beach Bad Boy, Tito Ortiz, will face off against fellow MMA veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida.
The 36-year-old has had Lil’ Nog in his mind as a prospective opponent since their earlier days competing as pioneers of the sport; the newly-dubbed People’s Champ is excited to finally see the match-up come to fruition, as well as to have another opportunity to display his fighting spirit to the fans.
“I knew there was going to be a time and day that we would fight each other and it’s nice to see it happen now. It’ll be a tough fight, a very tough fight,” Ortiz assesses. “He’s a great light heavyweight and I’m going to give my heart and soul every time I do fight and put on a show. That’s what I do: put on shows and I fight with my heart, my mind and determination – try to get my hand raised.”
Though Ortiz is certainly a competent striker, his bread and butter has always been grappling. He sports a strong ground and pound/submission arsenal to add atop powerful wrestling, but is actually looking to keep this one standing up.
“I’d rather take my chances on my feet,” he says. “I think he’s a great striker, but he makes a lot of mistakes, because of looping punches. He’s a southpaw, as they say, so he’s going to fall into my right hand. I want to keep this fight standing and I want to knock him out. I got Submission of the Night against Bader, I got Fight of the Night against Rashad, so let’s get Knockout of the Night against Lil’ Nog.”
With Nog having lost two straight and he himself having gone 1-5-1 in his last seven, Ortiz knows that both men face uncertain futures depending on the outcome of their meeting tomorrow.
“Either one of us loses, we’ve got a chance of not fighting again,” Ortiz acknowledges. “So, both of our backs are pressed against the wall. We’ll just see who’s the hungrier animal.”
UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida goes down tomorrow night from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. FightLine will be back as always with live, ongoing coverage of the event.