Tito Ortiz Beats Alberto Del Rio Via Submission in Combate Americas Fight

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2019

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 21: Tito Ortiz attends Premiere Of
Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz beat former WWE champion Alberto Del Rio by submission at the Combate Americas "Tito vs. Alberto" event at Payne Arena in Hidalgo, Texas, on Saturday.

Ortiz forced Del Rio to tap out to a rear-naked choke at 3:10 of the first round.

The win marked Ortiz's third in a row and fifth in six fights, improving his career record to 21-12-1. Meanwhile, Del Rio lost his second consecutive bout and dropped to 9-6 in the process.

Saturday was Ortiz's first appearance for Combate Americas after previous stints in the UFC and Bellator. Prior to the clash with Del Rio, Ortiz had not fought since beating Chuck Liddell under the Golden Boy Promotions banner in November 2018.

Del Rio's layoff was far longer. The former WWE Superstar, who also goes by Alberto "El Patron" Rodriguez, had not fought since taking the loss to Yamamoto Hanshi in February 2010. Del Rio joined WWE shortly after that fight to focus solely on his professional wrestling career.

After becoming a four-time world champion, two-time United States champion, one-time Royal Rumble winner and one-time Money in the Bank winner in WWE, Del Rio left the company in 2016.

He continued wrestling in Mexico, for Impact Wrestling and on the independent circuit but also took on a role with Combate Americas. Del Rio was the figurehead president for about one year from 2016 to 2017.

Now 42, Del Rio is trying his hand at MMA again despite the fact that he had been out of the sport for nearly a decade.

Ortiz is two years Del Rio's senior at 44 and nowhere near the same performer he was during his prime, but with wins over the likes of Liddell, Chael Sonnen and Stephan Bonnar over the past five years, The Huntington Beach Bad Boy was the clear favorite Saturday.

For Combate Americas, the fight was likely more about getting eyes on its product than delivering a truly competitive fight. Now that it's accomplished that goal and Ortiz came out on top, Combate Americas can concentrate on getting Ortiz some bigger and better opponents over the course of his two-year contract.

Meanwhile, Del Rio's future in MMA is unclear, but having the guts to fight a former UFC champ like Ortiz should give him plenty of credibility provided he decides to return to the wrestling ring.