Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz 3 Preview
This weekend MMA legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz return to share a cage for the 3rd time. The Forum in Inglewood, California will play host as Oscar De La Hoya enters the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
Liddell (21-8) was victorious in their first two meetings, and Ortiz (19-12-1) will be looking to close the gap on Saturday night. The rivalry is from another era, and with a discounted PPV price it will be interesting to see how the fight does on PPV not to mention the live gate.
Both fighters helped grow the sport in its early troublesome days when mainstream acceptance was lacking. Despite Liddell winning their two fights, their rivalry can’t be devalued by the one-sided nature of the fights. The return fight in 2006 managed over a million buys, such was the heat generated by two of the early pioneers of the then-fledgeling sport.
But like so many in combat sports both are back, with their prime years a generation ago. For Liddell it is especially worrying he is returning to the sport he once dominated, now 48 with no fight since 2010, no win since 2007, and only 1 win his last 6 fights, the last 3 fights all ended with Liddell being knocked out. There are obvious reasons why Liddell retired, and nothing has changed in the 8 years since his last fight.
Sadly for Liddell who has dabbled with reality TV in his time away from the sport, the reality of what he is attempting to do will I fear very quickly hit home.
Ortiz a mere youngster in comparison at 43, does admittedly have some recent form, going 3-1 in Bellator and winning his last fight against Chael Sonnen in January last year. Ortiz has fought 9 times since Liddell left the sport in 2010, his win over Ryan Bader in 2011 looks a lot better now than it did at the time.
THE ODDS COURTESY OF SKYBET
The difference in age and recent form seems to be reflected in the odds. Ortiz is strongly favoured to make it 2-1 in their personal rivalry.
The previous fights in 2004 and 2006 are practically irrelevant, Liddell won them convincingly, but neither fighter is anywhere near the fighter they were then. Picking Liddell to end the trilogy 3-0 is difficult based on how he looked in his last few fights, and the fact that he hasn’t fought in so long, we have nothing to go on except the past.
Ortiz has to be favoured, we have more to go on in the recent past. Even in his only defeat in Bellator he was doing well in a light heavyweight title fight against the then-unbeaten champion Liam McGeary until he got caught in a triangle.
Liddell, I am sure will have whipped his body into the best shape it can be for someone so close to 50, but I doubt it will be enough. Liddell will still carry the power, but the timing will be lacking, cage rust has to play a part and I think a crucial part in who wins the fight.
The tactics are easy to predict, Liddell will look to keep it standing, Ortiz the opposite. I believe Ortiz will get his game going pretty quickly and Liddell will find himself on his back fairly rapidly. The longer the fight goes will show clearly the decline in both fighters, but I think it will end early with Ortiz being pulled off his old rival before the 1st round is over.