Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen are two of the most outspoken stars in the history of mixed martial arts and on January 21 they will go one-on-one in the main event of Bellator 170 in Inglewood, California.
When it comes to these two men the build-up to a fight can be just as entertaining than the fight, sometimes even more so. Ortiz’s antics during the early years of his MMA career made him one of the most popular stars in the sport and helped the UFC make a breakthrough from minor sport to a major Las Vegas attraction, while Sonnen was never one to keep his mouth closed before a failed drug test seemingly brought an end to his UFC career and his mixed martial arts career in general.
Chael Sonnen. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Sonnen, who has not fought since November 2013, appeared to be done as a fighter and admitted as such before a dramatic turn of events that saw him ink a deal with Bellator MMA in September. The 39-year-old joined with the aim of taking on the legendary Wanderlei Silva, but he is more than happy to make his company debut against another former UFC star, Ortiz.
“He [Silva] wasn’t available and I had nothing else to do on January 21, so I thought why not stop by the Forum and beat Tito’s ass,” Sonnen told Maxim Magazine. “The guy is a button off my shirt. He is an everyday distraction.”
That has not been the only shot across the bow from Sonnen, but of course Ortiz is not about to let Sonnen dominate the headlines. He mocked Sonnen’s failed drug test during a video posted on Instagram and these two men will continue to trade cheap shots and insults until that cage door finally slams shut on January 21.
Tito Ortiz. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
And when that happens Ortiz will be looking for one more moment of glory having confirmed this will be the final fight of his legendary career. The former UFC light-heavyweight champion has gone 2-1 since signing with Bellator in 2014 – with one of those wins coming over then middleweight champion Alexander Schlemenko – and the man once known as the ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ is determined to wrap up his in-ring career with one final victory.
“This is not a game to me,” Ortiz told Maxim. “I’m fighting for my name. I’m fighting for my legacy. For my children. This guy is trying to take my legacy. I can’t let that happen.”
For mixed martial arts fans this is a fight that only ever seemed possible in a computer game, but it will go down on January 21 and the stature of this bout can only be reaffirmed by the fact the UFC – the number one promotion in MMA – has postponed a the UFC 208 card that had been scheduled to take place in California that night. Short of headline talent, the UFC were struggling to compete with a fight that will take place on Spike TV and is one long-time MMA fans are looking forward too.
So with all of this in mind – who will win? Ortiz’s record over the past decade hardly makes for stellar reading with three wins, eight defeats and one draw coming in that time. His most recent outing saw him get submitted by former light-heavyweight champion Liam McGeary and he has been stopped in three of his last four defeats. Sonnen, meanwhile, has been sidelined for the past three years having gone 1-3 in his last four fights for the UFC so it is safe to say he is hardly peaking. However, out of the two fighters he probably has a little bit more in the tank than Ortiz and I expect him to spoil the 41-year-old’s farewell outing, with a submission finish a real possibility.
Back Chael Sonnen to win by submission @ 4/1 BetVictor