by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez sustained a devastating loss the last time he stepped in a WEC cage. Now the former champ hopes to avenge that loss against another former Champion next week in California. Ricco Rodriguez seemed to be on a big time roll since his loss to Pedro Rizzo at UFC 45 in 2003. Since that uninspiring fight, Rodriguez went on a stretch run where he won four consecutive fights all by submission. He appeared to be ready to get back into Top 10. That all changed with his last fight.
Rodriguez lost to Ron Waterman by unanimous decision in a fight where he couldn’t muster much offense against the brute strength of the WEC Super Heavyweight Champion. Rodriguez later disclosed that his injured knee buckled early on in the fight and that his movement was very limited, cutting down many of his offensive jiu-jitsu moves. Add to the fact that he took the fight on four days notice didn’t help matters much. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that he lost the fight period. That was last time, Rodriguez hopes to rebuild his career once again this time.
WEC will not only bring Rodriguez back, but put him back into the main event next weekend against another huge fighter. Rodriguez will fight former King of the Cage Champion and Pride veteran Jimmy Ambriz on October 14th at the Palace in Lemoore, California. Rodriguez will be the favorite but will also have to figure out a way to deal with a much bigger fighter for his second consecutive fight. Waterman outweighed Rodriguez by 20 pounds in their last fight. Ambriz has been known to weigh around 325 pounds at certain points of his career, so once again Ricco will be giving up somewhere in the ball park of 40-50 pounds for this fight.
For Rodriguez it’s simple. Get a win against Ambriz and try to get back to the fast track of the heavyweight division. Remember with the UFC Heavyweight Division as dangerously thin as Paris Hilton, heavyweights are only a couple of wins away from a shot back at the title. The UFC was not happy with Rodriguez when he originally agreed to fight the current champion, Andrei Arlovski at UFC 52, only to back away a few days later because of financial issues.
Zuffa however is in a tough situation because if Arlovski defeats Paul Buentello, then there are only two fights you can make for Andrei that anyone would care about. The much anticipated fight between Frank Mir and the Pit Bull, which in itself, may never happen because no one seems to know if Mir really wants to fight period. The other logical rematch is Rodriguez vs Arlovski. The two fought at UFC 34 when Rodriguez won the fight by TKO. That was against “the kid” Arlovski, not the “Pit Bull” who has been absolutely dominant since winning the title.
Pride may not be out of the question either, as Fedor continues to dominate anyone and everyone he stands in front of. They may need new blood to feed to the champion. Before any of that can happen for Rodriguez, he has to take care of business now and not lose fights outside UFC and Pride. Winning four out of five isn’t bad, unless the one loss is your last loss. The MMA fans only remember your last fight, the promoters may as well. For Rodriguez it all starts next Friday night at the Palace Indian Gaming center in the main event against Jimmy Ambriz in World Extreme Cagefighting’s Halloween Fury 4.