Experience not only works for the older fighter, it can also work for the younger fighter too.
Rashad Evans (15-1-1) steps into the Octagon knowing what to expect from wily veteran Tito Ortiz (16-8-1) when they meet Saturday in Philadelphia in a light heavyweight fight. The battle of former mixed martial arts champions in Ultimate Fighting Championship 133 will be televised on pay-per-view.
It’s been four years since their first clash and in that time span each has ridden the crest of the wave and sunken under the whitewater too.
“I’m very anxious to get back in the cage. It’s been a long 14 months of up and down. I’m anxious to get in there and compete,” said Evans, who suffered various injuries. “I had no idea I was going to be out this long. I’m happy Tito Ortiz took the fight.”
His legendary opponent Ortiz was even more surprised because he was prepared to take a little time off when UFC president Dana White asked for assistance.
“We kind of sat down and said let’s do this. Dana said they needed my help and I stepped up,” said Ortiz, whose last fight was a win over Ryan Bader.
Ortiz could retire and know that his contributions to the sport of MMA have been immense. He also knows that when healthy he can still compete with the elite and pose a threat to anyone he faces.
Evans knows this too. The first time they met in Anaheim in July 2007 he was the young upstart causing ripples in the MMA world. Ortiz was the old lion looking to hang on to his perch and was able to pull out a draw by using his experience against the young Evans. It was the first blemish on Evans’ record, though only a draw.
“I felt horrible about the performance for years. I was just young and inexperienced. I’m a long way from that now,” says Evans.
But he does not predict an easy win.
“I think Tito has got a lot better at striking just from his movement and with his combinations,” said Evans during a conference call. “I’m not really worried about his striking. What I have to worry about is my own execution.”
That’s the big question. Who can execute what they do best?
“When it comes to fight time I just compete,” says Ortiz. “The last few years I’ve been unable to do that. I compete with the top guys in the world.”
Evans can’t wait.
“It’s nothing personal. I’m going to go on there out some work in and try and look great,” Evans said.
Others on the fight card
Vitor Belfort (19-9) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) in a middleweight mugging.
Mike Pyle (21-7-1) vs. Rory Macdonald (11-1) in a welterweight scrap.
Rafael Natal (12-3-1) vs. Paul Bradley in a middleweight fight.
Mike Brown (24-8) vs. Nam Phan (16-8) in a featherweight clash.
Johny Hendricks (10-1) vs. Mike Pierce (12-3) in a welterweight face off.
Matt Hamill (10-3) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (11-1) in a light heavyweight showdown.
And several other fights.
In Mexico it was Ana Maria Torres (26-3-3, 15 KOs) winning the rematch with Jackie Nava (24-4-3) after 10 rounds by unanimous decision in Chiapas, Mexico on Saturday. Their first fight ended in a draw. Torres captured the win by turning on the steam in the last few rounds.
Junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado (31-0, 22 KOs) remained undefeated by battering Mexico’s Gabriel Martinez (27-3-1, 14 KOs) over 10 rounds including a knockdown. In the other Top Rank fight card, Robert Marroquin (20-1, 14 KOs) won by decision over Mexico’s Jose Beranza (33-21-2) in a featherweight bout in Denver.
Former world champion Carina Moreno (21-3) will fight Chantel Cordova (8-2-1) on Aug. 27, in San Jose, said entertainment promoter Claudia Ollis, who advises Moreno. The female fight is scheduled for six rounds and takes place on the Golden Boy Promotions undercard of Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Marcos Maidana’s junior welterweight showdown. Moreno fights out of Watsonville, Calif. and Cordova out of Pueblo, Colorado.
Junior lightweight prospects Timothy Coleman (19-1-1, 5 KOs) and Vernon Paris (24-0, 14 KOs) collide at the Chumash Casino on Friday, Aug. 6. Baltimore’s Coleman knocked out Patrick Lopez and Detroit’s Paris defeated Emanuel Augustus in his last bout. The Gary Shaw Productions card also features undefeated Art Hovhannesyan (14-0-1, 8 KOs) against veteran Cristobal Cruz (39-12-2) a former featherweight world champion out of Mexico.
Number one lightweight contender Erica Farias (10-0, 6 KOs) fights against Anne Saccurato (15-5-2) for the vacant WBC lightweight world title on Saturday. The fight takes place in Farias native country Argentina.
Costa Rica’s Bryan Vazquez (27-0, 14 KOs) remained undefeated with a 11 round decision over Alan Herrera (25-3, 16 KOs) in a junior lightweight bout. The fight took place in San Jose, Costa Rica on Saturday.
Australia’s Billy “The Kid” Dib (32-1, 19 KOs) captured the vacant IBF featherweight world title by decision over Jorge Lacierva (39-8-6, 26 KOs) after 12 rounds on Friday. Dib formerly trained under Sugar Shane Mosley.
Junior welterweight contender Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) knocked out Victor Cayo (26-2, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic at 2:46 of round 12 on Friday in Las Vegas. Peterson’s only blemishes are a loss to WBC and WBO titleholder Timothy Bradley and a draw to WBC welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz.
Southern California’s Dan Henderson knocked out Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko in the first round to win the battle of mixed martial arts legends on Saturday in Chicago. The win by Temecula’s Henderson was part of the Strikeforce heavyweight challenge.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV