Chuck Liddell and Tito Oritz reignited their rivalry on Saturday night in Los Angeles, CA. The Forum played host to the third and final bout between the two MMA legends. The bout did not take place under the UFC banner or even the Bellator one; rather it took place under the newly formed MMA division of Golden Boy Promotions. Oscar De La Hoya has made a very successful business out of promoting boxing events and now he is trying his hand at MMA. He called upon two of the sports most popular figures to help him make his name in the world of MMA.
It had been over a decade since Liddell and Ortiz last met. The sport of MMA has grown tremendously since then. It has gone from sport obscurity to pop culture norm. Liddell and Oritz are two men who can be thanked for the growth of the sport. On Saturday the two men were part of MMA history again, for better or for worse.
By the time the main event was up the crowd was ready to see and cheer both Liddell and Ortiz as they made their walk to the cage. Maybe that would have been enough? Just seeing them in person and go through the motions of a fight but not actually fight. Both Ortiz and Liddell had rock star entrances. Lights, music, fog machine all the goods that come with being a star. As they made the walk to the cage the arena went nuts. Say what you will about the fight. The star power is still there.
After all the pageantry was done it was just Liddell and Ortiz in the cage. The bell sounded and chants of Ortiz rang through the building. Those were followed by chants for Liddell. As the fight started Liddell took the center of the cage. Ortiz circled around Liddell looking for an opening. It was a long feeling out process from both men. Ortiz grazed Liddell that sent him to the canvas but it seemed more like a pushdown than a knockdown. Liddell quickly got back up and the fighters continued their feeling out process. Ortiz missed badly with a head kick attempt but Liddell could not capitalize on it. At one point in the round Oritz stood in the middle of the cage and pointed to his chin, daring Liddell to take a swing. Liddell did not bite and remained content on finding the right opening. Ortiz charged towards Liddell and landed with a left hook followed by a straight right that dropped Liddell. Liddell was out by the time he hit the canvas but Ortiz still followed up with some strikes for good measure. The crowd erupted in cheer as Ortiz climbed the cage to celebrate.
On the other side of the cage Liddell remained on the canvas for a while as doctors were attending him to. It was a sad sight to see Liddell on the wrong end of yet another knockout loss. Liddell was able to get back to his feet and answer questions about the fight and his future. He did not give a clear answer as to what his next move will be but Ortiz did plead with him to keep fighting under the Golden Boy MMA banner. “I wouldn’t have made this comeback if I didn’t feel like I was in great shape” said Liddell. “I got caught. I came to give my best show. I wanted to give my best performance but I cam short”.
In a sight many thought they would never see, both Liddell and Ortiz shard a hug in the cage. “Chuck, thank you for taking this fight. You pushed me so hard for all these years and you made me work hard. I appreciate you. You are a real champ,” said Ortiz.
The night had a total of 16 fights and was a mixture of amateur and professional bouts. The PPV started with a gritty heavyweight bout between Oscar Cota and Jay Silva. The two fighters could not look any more different in term of physique. Silva was buit like a tank while Cota was not. Despite the difference in physical appearance the fight was rather competitive. Cota used his grappling to nullify the striking of Silva. The plan seemed for Cota to wear down Silva but that did not work. Cota proved to be very tough as he ate hard shots from Silva in the clinch. The majority of the fight was spent in the clinch. Cota was deducted a point for a low blow in the second round. The point deduction did not matter in the decision, as Silva was able to get Cota down to the ground in the third round and sink in a head and arm choke. Cota appeared to go to sleep and the fight was immediately stopped. Cota awoke instantly and started to argue with referee Mike Beltran about the stoppage.
James Barnes continued the show with a dominant performance over Albert Morales. Barnes used his superior grappling skills to control the fight. Barnes landed hard ground and pound throughout with Morales trying his best to stay active and survive. Morales had a few failed attempts at a triangle choke but Barnes was never in any real danger. The finish came in the third round when Barnes was able to get the takedown and maneuver his way into an armbar. Morales tried his best to hold from tapping but his arm looked like it was about to break when he finally did tap. After the fight however, Morales delivered a heart-felt speech and then propose to his girlfriend who ran into the cage and accepted.
Ricardo Palacios did not let the fact that he missed weight keep him down as he scored a TKO win over his opponent Waleel Watson. Palacios was ready from the word go and stalked down Watson. Palacios landed a hard overhand punch that rocked Watson. The punch echoed throughout the building and it was the beginning of the end from there. Palacios stalked Watson across the cage and landed with a hard right followed by an overhand left. Watson was on his way down when Palacios landed a kick to the face for good measure. Palacios apologized for missing weight after the bout.
A pair of MMA veterans entered the cage next and took part in a tough and gritty three round battle. Gleison Tibau defeated former Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision. Tibau used his strength to control the fight on the ground. There were a few moments of excitement, especially in the second round when it appeared that both fighters threw caution to the wind and started swinging for the fences. The action was short lived as the fight went back to the ground. Tibau was able to gain control for the remainder of the fight but it was not an easy win.
The co-main event saw “Filthy” Tom Lawlor take on unknown Deron Winn. The fight was contested at 205-pounds. That is notable as Winn is listed at 5’7 tall. He looked like a mini tank in there against Lawlor. Winn landed hard and landed often with his punches. He turned Lawlor’s face into a bloody mess. The power of Winn may have caught Lawlor off guard cause he did not look comfortable at all. Winn, member of the American Kickboxing Academy, was composed throughout the fight and even stayed calm when it appeared Lawlor had a guillotine choke locked in late in the third round. The performance earned Winn a unanimous decision victory.
Below you can find the full results from Liddell vs. Ortiz 3.
Main Card Results:
- Tito Oritz def. Chuck Liddell via KO in round 1 at 4:24
- Deron Winn def. Tom Lawlor via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Gleison Tibau def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ricardo Palacios def. Waleel Watson via TKO in round 1 at 3:56
- James Barnes def. Albert Morales via submission (armbar) in round 3 at 4:09
- Heavyweight Bout: Jay Silva def. Oscar Cota via technical submission in round 3 at 2:13
- Francisco Estrada def. Jose Huerta via submission (rear naked choke) in round 2 at 2:47
- Fernie Garcia def. Joe Roye via submission (rear naked choke) in round 1 at 2:48
- Johnny Cisneros def. Dave Terrell via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Joseph Henle def. Keith Berry via submission in round 1 at 1:15
- Joshua Jones def. Craig Wilkerson via decision
Amateur Bout Results:
- Noah Christy def. Casey Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
- Josh Wang Kim def. Johnny Robles via TKO in round 2 at 1:56
- Mary Almario def. Tyler Schaffer via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- John Wang Kim def. Mauro Gutierrez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julianna Miller def. Sidney Trillo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Article By: Alex Ramirez FiveRoundMMA-Head Writer and FightBookMMA Correspondent