UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz II – Preview & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
This weekend the UFC ventures to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a Frankenstein card, pieced together after several bouts were scrapped due to injury, including a the loss of two title bouts.
In the main even former UFC champions Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz will rematch, while high-profile middleweights Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama meet up in the co-main event. The remainder of the main card struggles with name recognition, but features well matched bouts.
Brian Ebersole takes on Dennis Hallman, best known for a pair of armbar victories over former UFC champion Matt Hughes. Additionally the main card features Jorge Rivera against Costantinos Philippou and welterweight stand-outs Mike Pyle and Rory MacDonald.
One of the strongest portions of the card is the Spike TV preliminary broadcast. The first of two bouts to air will feature featherweights Chad Mendes and Rani Yahya. A win for Mendes could mean a title shot, while a win for Yahya would have top-ten implications. The second bout will feature fan favorite Matt Hamill against Swedish prospect Alexander Gustafsson.
The remainder of the preliminary card will air live on the UFC’s official Facebook page and is arguably a stronger line-up than the main card in terms of overall quality of fighters and matchmaking.
Former WEC champion Mike Brown looks to bounce back from two-straight losses against The Ultimate Fighter 12’s Nam Phan. The sole bantamweight bout of the evening puts long-time MMA veteran Ivan Menjivar against Nick Pace, while the night’s opening bout features Rafael Natal against Paul Bradley. The other preliminary bout features welterweight prospects Johny Hendricks and Mike Pierce.
Rashad Evans (15-1-1) vs. Tito Ortiz (16-8-1)
Rashad Evans made a name for himself by winning The Ultimate Fighter 2 as a heavyweight. He quickly moved to light heavyweight and rattled off uninspiring wins over Sam Hoger and Stephan Bonnar before scoring highlight-reel knockouts against Jason Lambert and Sean Salmon.
Evans then faced former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz for the first time with an unblemished record. In a close bout, the end result was a draw. Ortiz was on his way to winning a 29-28 decision, but a point deduction for grabbing the fence resulted in the draw. Evans quickly regained his momentum with a split decision against The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Michael Bisping.
After knocking out former UFC champion Chuck Liddell, Evans earned a title shot against The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Forrest Griffin. After two lackluster rounds Evans scored an impressive knockout mid-way through round three. In his first title defense he lost by knockout against Lyoto Machida, but most recently earned close decisions against Thiago Silva and former UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
UFC Record: 10-1-1 (4 TKO)
Strengths: NCAA Div I wrestling background, good kickboxing, athleticism
Weaknesses: Undersized light heavyweight
Key Wins: Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Quinton Jackson, Thiago Silva, Michael Bisping, Jason Lambert, Stephan Bonnar, Jamie Jara, Brad Imes, Sam Hoger, Hector Ramirez
Notable Loss: Lyoto Machida
Tito Ortiz established himself as one of the most recognizable figures in mixed martial arts, but over the last few years. Ortiz won a controversial split decision over The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner and former UFC champion Forrest Griffin in 2006 before winning a pair of unnecessary bouts against Ken Shamrock.
Ortiz rounded out 2006 with a rematch with former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, but was stopped by strikes in the third round. Ortiz then faced Evans to a draw as previously mentioned in what was his sole appearance of 2007. Ortiz then lost a unanimous decision against former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in his lone 2008 bout.
Returning in 2009, Ortiz rematched Griffin but this time found himself on the losing side of a split decision – again, his only bout of the year. In his next bout he lost a decision against Matt Hamill, a fighter he coached on season three of The Ultimate Fighter. Most recently however Ortiz scored a major upset by stopping out once-beaten Ryan Bader with a first round guillotine choke.
UFC Record: 15-8-1 (8 TKO, 2 Sub)
Strengths: Good ground and pound, durable, conditioning
Key Wins: Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, Forrest Griffin, Ryan Bader, Ken Shamrock (3), Patrick Cote, Yuki Kondo, Vladimir Matyushenko, Guy Mezger
Notable Losses: Chuck Liddell (2), Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, Randy Couture, Matt Hamill
*In PDG’s Match-Up of the Night welterweight prospects Johny Hendricks (10-1) and Mike Pierce (12-3) face off on the preliminary portion of the card, set to air on the UFC’s official Facebook page. Hendricks, who holds a 5-1 UFC record, enters this weekend’s bout riding a TKO win over Anthony Waldburger following the first loss of his career. Hendricks owns notable career victories over Charlie Brenneman, T.J. Grant, Amir Sadollah, and Ricardo Funch. Pierce, who holds a UFC record of 4-1, is currently on a three-fight win streak. After winning his UFC debut over Brock Larson, Pierce was out-pointed by Jon Fitch. His most recent run has seen him rattle off a unanimous decision over Julio Paulino, a submission over Amilcar Alves, and a TKO stoppage over Kenny Robertson.
*On the Spike TV broadcast The Ultimate Fighter 3’s Matt Hamill (10-3) takes on Swedish prospect Alexander Gustafsson (11-1). Hamill has fought all of his professional bouts, except his debut, in the UFC. Hamill was in the midst of a career-best five-fight win streak before most recently losing a unanimous decision against former UFC champion and PRIDE star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Hamill owns notable victories over Tito Ortiz, Keith Jardine, and Mark Munoz. Gustafsson is currently on a two-fight win streak and is 3-1 overall in the UFC. After winning his promotional debut by knockout over Jared Hamman, “The Mauler” was submitted by Phil Davis. Gustafsson most recently rebounded with a pair of rear naked choke submissions over Cyrile Diabate and James Te Huna.
*In one of the most important match-ups of the UFC 133 card former WEC champion Mike Brown (24-8) takes on The Ultimate Fighter 12’s Nam Phan (16-8). Brown is currently on a two-fight losing streak to Diego Nunes and Rani Yahya since the WEC merged with the UFC. Brown, who is 0-3 overall in the UFC, is one of the most highly-regarded featherweights in the world however, and owns notable victories over Urijah Faber (2), Jeff Curran, Leonard Garcia, Yves Edwards, Takeshi Yamazaki, Taiyo Nakahara, and Mark Hominick. Phan is best known for his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 12, but is known to hardcore fans for appearances in King of the Cage, Strikeforce, SRC, and K-1 HERO’S. Phan, who lost his UFC debut in a controversial decision against Leonard Garcia, owns a notable career victory over Hideki Kadowaki. Phan has faced some of the best competition in the world however, including bouts with Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, “Razor” Rob McCullough, Michihiro Omigawa, Billy Evangelista, and Josh Thomson.
*On the other Spike TV bout featherweight contender Chad Mendes (10-0) takes on highly-regarded Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rani Yahya (16-6). Mendes, who is expected to earn a title shot at Jose Aldo with a win, is undefeated in his professional career, including his most recent UFC debut over Michihiro Omigawa. Mendes, who trains alongside former WEC champion Urijah Faber, compiled a 4-0 record with the WEC, including wins over Javier Vasquez, Cub Swanson, Erik Koch, and Anthony Morrison. Yahya had fought extensively with K-1 HERO’S before making a name for himself in the UFC. Having most recently won his UFC debut over former WEC champion Mike Brown, Yahya was able to snap a two-fight losing streak. Yahya holds notable career victories over Eddie Wineland, Yoshiro Maeda, Mark Hominick, and Taiyo Nakahara.
UFC 133 Fight Card
Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz (Main Event)
Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (Co-Main Event)
Brian Ebersole vs. Dennis Hallman
Jorge Rivera vs. Costantinos Philippou
Mike Pyle vs. Rory MacDonald
Preliminary Card (Spike TV):
Matt Hamill vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Chad Mendes vs. Rani Yahya
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Ivan Menjivar vs. Nick Pace
Johny Hendricks vs. Mike Pierce (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan
Rafael Natal vs. Paul Bradley