Monday, June 26, 2006

UFC 61, "Bitter Rivals"

So the rematch of Ken Shamrock & Tito Ortiz is coming up. Now, as we all recollect, Ortiz dominated the head of the Lions Den the first go-around, winning by TKO. Shamrock was almost unrecognizable by the end of the fight.

Ken later explained that he he had been recovering from a torn ACL up to & during the fight.

Tito went on to leave the UFC on extremely bad terms after a contract dispute with UFC president Dana White, reportedly demanding $300,000 per fight. Shamrock proceeded to KO a ketchup can from his past, Kimo Leopoldo, half a round into their much-ballyhooed rematch of a fight I watched about 10 years ago. Shortly thereafter, he flew to Japan for PRIDE 30, where long-in-the-tooth fan-favorite Kazushi Sakuraba won by KTFO in the 1st.

Ken argued the ref stoppage, saying he fell to the ground but hadn't been knocked wholly unconscious.

Then, inexplicably, he was pitted against Middleweight champion & Xyience-fueled maniac, Rich "Ace" Franklin as the basic-cable main event of "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 2. After his traditional leglock attempt, the battered, time-worn 41-year old former "King of Pancrase" slipped & fell on his after attempting, for some bizarre reason, a kick to Franklin's head. Franklin, true to form, proceeded to calmly beat Shamrocks face in, winning by TKO in the 1st.

Shamrock later claimed (ready for this?) that his cornea was scratched early in the fight.

So now, for reasons that elude me, Shamrock is rematching the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, after a mending of fences between Team Punishment & Zuffa. They were coaches of the two opposing teams on TUF 3, & made it clear to the world that they shared a deep & mutual hatred of each other, almost coming to blows. Tito is coming off of a split decision over TUF 1 winner Forrest Griffin as a warm-up for this fight. His recent record, after first facing Shamrock in '02, features a memorable KO at the hands of current champ Chuck "The Iceman" Lidell & a split decision over slumping Brazilian "Phenom", Vitor Belfort. Tito is 31 years old, a senior citizen in the NBA but entering his prime in MMA. He says his motivation for the rematch is to retire Shamrock. You have to give Tito credit for brazenly using Ken as a stepping-stone. The ongoing feud with the Lions Den camp has made for good TV & kept Tito in the spotlight. Latching on to the declining Shamrock has kept Ortiz afloat in a fickle arena that has seen fan favorites come & go faster than you can say "B.J. Penn".

As for Shamrock, he obviously wasn't paying attention when Welterweight champ Matt Hughes devoured the legandary Royce Gracie like a country breakfast. After losing to Tito again, he will have provided the win necessary to earn Ortiz another shot at the LH belt. So we'll go from Shamrock-Ortiz II to Lidell-Ortiz II. And if Tito actually uses his wrestling skills against Chuck & is able to earn a decision, that would set the stage for another monster of a rubber match on the heels of Lidell-Couture III, also happening to feature Lidell. That's a lot of the same fighters in a short time, but when they're Hall of Fame caliber fighters it isn't so bad. I just hope Ortiz remembers to thank a bruised & battered Ken Shamrock when he claims the title from Lidell.


This fan's official prediction for Shamrock-Ortiz II is Ortiz by TKO (stoppage) in the 2nd. To be followed with Ortiz by unanimous decision in Lidell-Ortiz II.


Blogger thebigo said...

My prediction...PAIN. No seriously, I don't think the Shamrock fight will go past the 1st round. Ortiz by TKO-punches in the 1st. Shamrock in the hospital with major concussions shortly thereafter. And then Tito's going to roll through Lidell in the 2nd by TKO ref stoppage. We're gonna order it, right? I'm good for half.

10:41 PM  
Blogger thebigo said...

Mr. Morgan, Update this blog!

1:40 AM  

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