While this is a fight that a lot of fans are not very excited to see, I can understand why the UFC put it together. Tito Ortiz is far past his prime and only has a marginal ability to win fights at the UFC level at this point. If the UFC was to match him against an opponent at his level, he would be fighting somebody like Eliot Marshall. Since this is supposed to be the last fight of Ortiz’s career, it’s more appropriate to match him against somebody well-known. I understand that people really don’t want to see this fight, but I can’t think of a better opponent, both fight-wise and business-wise, than Forrest Griffin.
Ortiz enters this fight at 16-10-1 overall, 15-10-1 in the UFC, while Griffin enters at 18-7 overall, 9-5 in the UFC. Ortiz’s last fight was a first-round TKO loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Griffin’s last fight was a first-round knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 134.
Griffin has never been known as the most talented fighter, but he is skilled. He has a quality striking game, with straight punches and good, hard leg kicks, although you probably don’t need me to tell you that Griffin’s striking defense isn’t the best. He’s a very big light-heavyweight, and can be tough to take down because of that, but if he is taken down, he actually has a very good ground game. Griffin has seven career wins by submission, and while many of those submissions took place early in his career, there have been moments in a number of UFC fights where Griffin has shown how good he is on the ground. He also has quality ground and pound, as he stays active with strikes without leaving himself open to an opponent’s submission attempt. Add great cardio to the mix, and what you get is a fighter who is good in all areas. It takes a talented fighter to beat Griffin.
His opponent, Tito Ortiz, is a good enough wrestler that he can take Griffin to the ground. It doesn’t hurt that Ortiz might be the one light-heavyweight who is bigger than Griffin. The problem Ortiz has is that he’s not nearly as well-conditioned as Griffin is. This is why, in their fight at UFC 106, Ortiz had good success early, only to fade badly and get pummeled in the third round. Ortiz is also famous for his ground and pound, but as far as skills in high-level MMA go, the ground and pound of Ortiz hasn’t aged particularly well. Ortiz does not have particularly precise striking, and punches like the one he landed on Ryan Bader at UFC 132 are very rare out of him. He does have some submission skills, as evidenced by his guillotine choke of Bader and triangle choke attempt against Lyoto Machida, but his game plan usually doesn’t involve submissions.
SILVA PREDICTION: FORREST GRIFFIN (67.45) OVER TITO ORTIZ (23.80)
Ortiz has three problems as far as I’m concerned. The first is that he’s not a good enough striker or grappler to finish Griffin; at least, I’ll be very surprised if he does. The second is that his cardio is much worse than Griffin’s, and he’s likely to fade in the second round. The third is that he’s 3-6-1 in his last 10 fights, and two of the wins were against Ken Shamrock. Ortiz has a huge name, and he’s a legend of the sport, but being a wrestler with good ground and pound, poor cardio, and a poor ability to take punishment is not a recipe for success in today’s UFC. I’m hoping for a good, exciting farewell fight here, but I’ll be very surprised if Griffin isn’t the winner.