A lot can happen in 30 days—just ask Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz was set to be fired by the UFC following an all-but-certain loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 132. But Ortiz didn't get the memo and gave himself a new lease on life with the stunning upset victory.
Then, through a series of twists and turns, Ortiz was propelled into a rematch opposite Rashad Evans at UFC 133. Who could have seen this coming?
Predictions on who will emerge victorious at UFC 133 do not favor Ortiz. Evans is a sweet -400 favorite, while "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" stands at +350.
If Ortiz manages to upend "Suga" he will be "in the mix" for a title shot, according to UFC president Dana White, and be one step closer to completing one of the best career comebacks in sports history.
But can Ortiz actually beat Evans?
When the two first locked horns back at UFC 78, Ortiz would have beaten Evans if not for having a point deducted for holding the cage fence while trying to defend against a takedown. As a result, the fight ended in a draw.
But that was more than four years ago, and Evans has grown by leaps and bounds since, even holding the light heavyweight title, however brief.
Who you got?
Both fighters fall into the category of "wrestle-boxer" with a functional Jiu-Jitsu game to boot. For Ortiz to emerge victorious, he will have to outpoint Evans en route to a decision win; on paper, it is less likely either would finish the other. So a more effective striking attack, combined with a higher percentage of both Octagon control and more takedowns then being took down, will be required.
Another interesting dynamic to this fight is that Ortiz will be stepping into the cage just one month removed from his shocking UFC 132 win, while Evans has not fought in more than a year since taking down Rampage Jackson back at UFC 114. Not often do you see such a discrepancy between two fighters.
So will Ortiz be able to properly peak in time for this fight? Will Evans have ring rust?
This fight is compelling for several reasons, with the most compelling being if Tito Ortiz can do the unthinkable against Rashad Evans and make one last run at the always-elusive UFC title shot.
This writer's official prediction is that Evans edges out Ortiz and goes on to claim his own title shot—but don't count out Oritz, as the MMA gods may decide to smile upon him one last time.