In an anticipated light-heavyweight matchup between two fighters in need of a victory, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (16-9-1) will battle Brazilian fighter Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-5) in a main card bout at UFC 140.
Ortiz is coming off his loss to Rashad Evans from August but had a victory not too long ago against Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader. It gave the 36-year-old some much-needed momentum in a career that was on the brink of being done less than a year ago.
Nogueira is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, but many would argue it should be three considering his highly controversial victory against Jason Brilz at UFC 114. His lone UFC victory came against Luiz Cane in his UFC debut.
This fight has all the making of going the distance given both fighters' ability to take punishment and their durability. The only fighters who have been able to stop Ortiz by TKO were Chuck Liddell and Evans. Nogueira was only stopped once in his career by Rameau Sokoudjou.
Ortiz will need to take this fight to the mat if he wants to win, but it's a question of whether or not he can get it there for all three rounds and keep Nogueira neutralized long enough to sit out the clock. It's very unlikely he will be able to do so.
Ortiz or Nogueira?
In Nogueira's last fight versus Phil Davis, he was able to avoid the takedown attempts for the majority of the bout before the former NCAA Division I wrestler started going for single-leg takedowns and found success. If Nogueira can have that same kind of success here, he will have a very good chance of winning given Ortiz's tendency to fade after the first round.
Ortiz will come out fast and look to get Nogueira down as soon as possible. He should be able to score the takedown, but winning the first round won't be enough once the former LHW champion begins to fade in the second and third rounds. Nogueira's superior stand-up technique will carry the fight late while he avoids the takedown attempts of Ortiz.
Nogueira rallies in the last two rounds to out-point Ortiz on the feet and win the fight by unanimous decision.
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