If there was any question as to where Forrest Griffin’s head was at following his last fight, the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner answered emphatically as he battled his way to a split decision win over Tito Ortiz in the main event of UFC 106 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The mental jitters that everyone questioned about Forrest Griffin heading into the fight against Ortiz faded away quickly as the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner came out strong in round 1 with a good jab and his signature leg kicks.
It didn’t take long for the stand-up to coax Ortiz into a takedown as he shot in and put Griffin on his back as he opened up a barrage of elbows and punches. Griffin defending well and used a kimura to make Ortiz roll and get back to the feet. The round closed with Griffin using some more striking to push Ortiz back, with the Georgia native getting the better of the punches.
Ortiz battled back in the 2nd round with a series of takedowns that loomed large in the judges’ minds, as he put Griffin on his back and opened up his ground attack. As Griffin defended he ate a strike that opened up a huge cut over his eye, but he quickly moved and swept Ortiz and ended up on top of the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy.” Not much damage was landed, but Griffin sweeping Ortiz was a great way for him to end the round.
The never ending gas tank of Forrest Griffin likely earned him the win with the third round as he came out strong, landing unanswered strikes as Ortiz simply put up his hands to defend, while not firing much of anything back. As Griffin fired a kick, Ortiz shot for a takedown, but his opponent defended and the fight stayed standing.
Griffin continued to move forward and batter Ortiz with punches and kicks for which his opponent simply had no answer for. The fight came to an end with Ortiz still struggling to stop the stand-up of Forrest Griffin, who came alive once again late in a fight to get the win.
The judges’ scorecards read across with 2 of the 3 giving the win to Forrest Griffin by split decision. Griffin spoke candidly to the Las Vegas crowd following the win, which comes on the heels of his devastating loss to pound-for-pound king, Anderson Silva, in August.
“I see Anderson (Silva) over there, he broke me,” Griffin said with extreme honestly after getting the nod for the win. “Tito was a great fight for me to come back, we’ll have to do a third that’s 1-1 man.”
With a split decision in both of their fights, Griffin seemed more than willing to get a rubber match put together with Ortiz to settle the score once and for all.
“You could tell he was a guy getting ready for Mark Coleman, no offense, and he’s a guy coming off back surgery. We’ll do it again, I won’t break my foot, he’ll be in better shape,” Griffin commented.
For his part, Ortiz was obviously upset with the loss, and talked about having another back injury heading into the fight, while also dealing with a fractured skull apparently. Still, he gave his opponent credit for the win.
“Forrest is a better man tonight, I’ve got to give it to him,” Ortiz stated with a heavy heart after the loss.
Back on track after 2 losses, Griffin moves back into the thick of the light heavyweight division, while Ortiz will try to get healthy and see where he fits into an ever growing 205lb weight class.