With his back against the wall and a pink slip waiting to be delivered, Ortiz stepped into the Octagon against what looked to be a better version of himself.
Bader had wrestling that was just as good as Ortiz, perhaps even better, and he had proven knockout power.
Smart money was on the younger lion, especially as Bader was trying to bounce back from a loss to Jon Jones.
Tito came out with an intensity we had forgotten he had, and he traded blows with Bader, sending him crashing to the canvas with a short punch right on the button.
Ortiz pounced, attacking with punches before Bader dived forward in desperation for a takedown.
Ortiz secured a tight guillotine choke, squeezed with all his might and Bader tapped out.
It was the one shinning moment in a long downhill slide of a once great career, and even though it was his only victory in many years, Ortiz thrilled the crowd and breathed new life into his career.
He hasn’t won a fight since that night, but in defeating Ryan Bader, he showed the world he is most dangerous when his back is against the wall.
Will he prove it again against Forrest Griffin at UFC 148?
Either way, Ortiz has been one of the most compelling fighters the company has ever had, and he will be sorely missed.