After initially claiming he wasn’t interested, Tito Ortiz has decided to step in and face Rashad Evans on August 6 at UFC 133. UFC president Dana White confirmed the decision this afternoon. So Ortiz will be stepping in to replace Evans’ original opponent Phil Davis, who just backed out of the fight with a knee injury.
Ortiz just finished pulling off a huge upset win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132 on July 2. So Ortiz will be taking two fights within a span of a few weeks, which is ridiculous. I personally can’t believe he’s doing it, especially after talking about what a bad idea it would be. I think we can all assume that White made taking this fight worth Ortiz’s while with a significant paycheck.
Ortiz will be taking a fight with a former champion with just three weeks and three days to prepare. The two faced each other in 2007 at UFC 73, and battled to a draw, despite most observers agreeing that Ortiz won. Ortiz lost a point in that match for grabbing the cage.
I have to agree that while I’ve never been a huge fan of Ortiz, taking this fight is a ballsy move and when you couple that with his win over Bader, the guy clearly thinks he’s back. Besides, if he takes this fight on short notice and falls to a world-class light heavyweight like Evans, no one will hold it against him.
Evans has won back-to-back fights (against Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson) since losing the light heavyweight title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 in 2009.