By Simon Samano
For FOX Deportes
It’s hard to believe, but this is it for Tito Ortiz.
The “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” will step into the octagon for the final time on Saturday night at UFC 148 to take on Forrest Griffin.
They’ve done this twice before, with each one earning a hard-fought victory by split decision. And if the first two fights between two of the most popular fighters in UFC history are any indication, you can pretty much guarantee this final battle to the settle the score will be close.
Griffin certainly doesn’t want to lose, otherwise he’s “retiring from life,” right? Ortiz, on the other hand, wants to walk into the sunshine with his hand raise one last time.
No matter the outcome, a Hall of Fame career and a classic UFC rivalry will come to an end. Below is a breakdown of the matchup:
Striking advantage: Push Both Ortiz and Griffin are pretty straight forward with their striking, although Griffin can sometimes become unorthodox. And both of these fighters possess one-punch knockout power. That being said, neither dominates this department.
Wrestling advantage: Ortiz Even though Ortiz is older (and therefore slower) since their last fight in 2009, his dominance still goes without saying. It’s actually the most distinct advantage either fighter has in this matchup. The first two fights already proved it.
Submissions advantage: Ortiz By no means is this clear-cut, but given that Ortiz will try to take this fight to the ground, it goes without saying that he’ll look to stop it while down there. Plus, Ortiz is the one who most recently submitted a much younger and heavily favored Ryan Bader with a guillotine choke at UFC 132.
Strength and conditioning advantage: Griffin Again, not a clear-cut advantage, but with Griffin just a few years younger, he’ll probably have a little more in the tank if this fight gets to the third round.
Experience advantage: Push No surprise here, right?
Keys to victory: Ortiz says he’s healthy for this final fight of his career, unlike the last time in 2009 when he was coming off of back surgery in his first fight in over a year. With that in mind, his arsenal shouldn’t be limited. … Griffin won’t fight scared, that’s for sure. But he’ll want to be cautious of Ortiz’s takedown attempts. It’s better for Griffin if the fight stays standing.
Prediction: Ortiz by split decision