Over 14 years removed from their first meeting all the way back at UFC 47 in 2004, UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz wrote the third and final chapter of their storied rivalry last night in Inglewood, California. This time around, it’d be Ortiz who would emerge victorious, exacting revenge on the man who knocked him out twice when both men were still in their prime.
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Ortiz looked to be the more confident fighter from the get go, winning each brief exchange until he was able to put Liddell away with just over a half-minute left in the opening stanza. A couple of deadly right hands that landed right on target for the legendary ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ would put an end the proceedings.
The fight headlined the first MMA offering from boxing promoter and former world champion Oscar De La Hoya under his Golden Boy Promotions banner.
For Liddell, this was the first time we saw the man who was once regarded as pound for pound the best fighter on the planet since he was knocked out by Rich Franklin at UFC 115 in Vancouver. The “Iceman” would finally retire after the bout, having been brutally KO’d in his last three contests.
Liddell’s fall from grace was a common one for mixed martial artists; in a sport this unforgiving, it sometimes can be nearly impossible to recover after suffering that first big knockout defeat. The combination of father time and younger, more hungry fighters locking in on that bullseye firmly placed on your back has led to premature endings for many a fighter, including Liddell.
Unfortunately, whether it was for money or for some sort of pride, Liddell would decide to return, looking even more of a shell of his former self than he did at the end of his UFC career. If there was one positive coming out of this bout, it would be the glory for Ortiz and his fan base and the embrace between these two legends that followed what will hopefully be the final dance for both legendary competitors.
Final Result: Tito Ortiz (20-12-1) defeats Chuck Liddell (21-9) via KO (punch) – Round 1, 4:24