Tito Ortiz Closes Rivalry Against Chuck Liddell with Vicious First Round Knockout
More than 14 years after their first fight, Tito Ortiz closed out his epic rivalry against Chuck Liddell with a vicious first round knockout.
The trilogy came together thanks to Oscar De La Hoya deciding to dip his big toe into mixed martial arts promotion with the trilogy between Ortiz and Liddell.
Liddell had twice previously knocked out Ortiz when they met in the UFC but their last fight took place all the way back in 2006. Add to that, Liddell hadn’t fought in eight years after retiring from the sport following a series of brutal knockouts suffered at the end of his UFC career.
Still, Liddell wanted to compete again so he stepped into the cage with Ortiz on Saturday night but the fight ultimately didn’t get past the first round.
Ortiz took the center of the cage almost immediately and looked confident in his boxing while Liddell was flat footed and barely pawing back at him with his lead hand. Time and time again, Ortiz would jump in for his combinations and Liddell would just sit back with his right hand cocked but he never seemed comfortable enough to throw it.
As the round continued, Ortiz’s confidence soared as he saw Liddell’s reaction time was much slower and he began connecting with his punches from the outside.
Finally, Ortiz pressed forward with a blistering combination of strikes that finished with a crushing right hand that absolutely crumbled Liddell down to the mat.
Ortiz followed with a couple of more punches as Liddell laid unconscious on the canvas with referee Herb Dean rushing into stop the contest before further damage could be inflicted.
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Ortiz leapt to the top of the cage and celebrated the win that allowed him to exorcize the demons that had haunted him for nearly 15 years thanks to his rivalry with Liddell.
While he was obviously excited about the victory, Ortiz managed to pay tribute to Liddell afterwards and the two legends embraced to signify what is likely the end of one of the longest and most heated rivalries in mixed martial arts history.
“I’ve gotta be respectful. Chuck Liddell, thank you for taking this fight,” Ortiz said. “You gave me an opportunity to show my skills. You gave us an opportunity to start something great with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions. Chuck, thank you. You pushed me hard, dude. You made me work super, super hard.
“At the end of the day Chuck, I’m a respectful man. I appreciate what you gave me the opportunity to do. You’re a f–king true champion, brother.”
As for Liddell, he was obviously upset about the loss but still wasn’t immediately ready to say that he won’t fight again. Even at the post fight press conference, Liddell said it was too soon to address his future, although he added that he loved being back in training camp after so long away.
“I came back. I got in great shape. I was ready for this fight,” Liddell said after the loss. “I got out there and I got caught. I made a mistake and it is what it is. I don’t think it was my best showing for sure. I got in shape, I was ready for this fight. I have no excuses.
“We’re going to have to sit back and think about it. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
FULL RESULTS from Liddell vs. Ortiz 3
MAIN EVENT: Tito Oritz def. Chuck Liddell by knockout (strikes) at 4:24, R1
Deron Winn def. Tom Lawlor by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Gleison Tibau def. Efrain Escudero by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ricky Palacios def. Walel Watson by knockout (punches) at 3:56, R1
James Barnes def. Alberto Morales by submission (armbar) at 4:09, Round 3
Jay Silva def. Oscar Cota by technical submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:13, Round 3
Johnny Cisneros def. Dave Terrel by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Fernie Garcia def. Joe Roye by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:48, R1
Francisco Estrada def. Jose Huerta by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:47, R2