|Photo cutline: Forrest Griffin evened the score with Tito Ortiz at UFC 106, earning a split-decision victory. (UFC photo)
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Take Tito Ortiz for instance – new back, new era in the UFC, same bad attitude.
Following his hard-fought, split-decision loss to Forrest Griffin (17-6) last night at UFC 106, Ortiz (15-7-1) wasted no time informing everyone he had bulging discs and a cracked skull. This isn’t meant to take away from his gutsy performance in any way, but there’s something to be said about taking a loss and keeping your mouth shut.
If you’re good enough to fight, you’re good enough to lose.
It comes across as tacky when, in the build-up to a bout, a competitor drones on about how he’s at 100 per cent and in the best shape ever, only to turn around and immediately whine about injuries after losing.
Ortiz has established one of the greatest legacies in MMA history, but many are going to remember him for his poor antics, as well as his great performances.
LITTLE NOG IN THE TITLE HUNT
Last night, an undercard fight had a bigger impact on the light-heavyweight title picture than the main event.
As Griffin earned a split-decision victory over Ortiz in the headlining bout, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira established himself as a top contender with a brutal TKO victory over Luiz Cane earlier in the evening.
Though the match between Griffin and Ortiz was the biggest draw for pay-per-view watchers, neither man can be considered close to a title shot at this point. Griffin is 1-2 in his last three fights – with knockout losses to Anderson Silva and Rashad Evans. While Ortiz, having now dropped his return fight, hasn’t earned a win since Oct. 2006, when he stopped Ken Shamrock.
Nogueira (18-3), twin brother to UFC heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, is currently riding a six-fight win streak and has been ranked a top 10 light-heavyweight since 2005. He also opened a lot of eyes last night by knocking out Cane (10-2), a Muay Thai specialist with a series of nasty KOs to his credit. The impressive performance earned Nogueira the $70,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus.
With Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua tentatively scheduled to have their rematch in Montreal this May, Nogueira deserves to face the winner of January’s bout between Evans and Thiago Silva to determine the next challenger.
KOSCHECK RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS
After focusing on striking for three fights, Josh Koscheck dusted off his wrestling against welterweight prospect Anthony Johnson last night.
Though the two spent time trading shots – and eyepokes, for that matter – Koscheck proved the superior grappler as he controlled Johnson on the ground. After grinding away, he was able to secure a rear-naked choke for the win.
The hard-fought victory netted Koscheck a whopping $140,000 in bonus money, earning both “Submission of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” honours.
Following the win, Koscheck wasted no time calling out welterweight number one contender Dan Hardy.
"I know there's somebody here that thinks he's the number one contender," Koscheck said in his post-fight interview. "He thinks he's the number one contender, but he hasn't fought anybody."
Koscheck then pointed at Dan Hardy, who defeated Mike Swick last weekend at UFC 105 in Manchester, England.
"He hasn't fought nobody like me," Koscheck continued. "Guaranteed, I'm the number one freaking contender in the division."