In a bit of a Saturday night shocker, Tito Ortiz proved he has a little left in the tank.
The 39-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champion of the world upset Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 120 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.
The end came via submission by arm triangle in the very first round. Shlemenko was unconscious before he could tap out.
Ortiz looked like a giant compared to Shlemenko in the cage. The Russian did well when the fight was standing. But once Ortiz took him to the ground, it was all over.
Ortiz quickly took the advantageous position and stopped his opponent.
Per the Bellator pay-per-view telecast, when Bellator's Jimmy Smith asked Ortiz how he felt after the fight, Ortiz said, "Guess who's back."
Gamma Labs gave credit where it was due.
Shlemenko’s title wasn’t on the line, as the fight was fought at light heavyweight. But the 29-year-old Russian’s reputation took a hit.
Ortiz was not expected to win this bout, and he had been the target of several jokes on social media leading up to the fight.
Here's one example from MMA Roasted:
By the time the night was over, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy had the last laugh.
The win breathes new life into Ortiz’s career. Shlemenko was a respectable opponent. Beating him gives some credence to the thought that Ortiz may be prepared to be a major player in MMA again.
Shlemenko is still the middleweight champion, but he looks a lot less elite after losing to Ortiz.
From a public perception standpoint, Shlemenko will have a lot to prove as he attempts to continue his reign at 185 pounds.
We'll see if Shlemenko's future opponents will attempt to take him to the ground and impose their will as well.
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