by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” will not face an old foe in his return to the Octagon; he’ll actually face an old friend.
Tito Ortiz is set to return to the Octagon on Oct. 23 at UFC 121 in Anaheim, Calif., where he will face the fighter he picked first during the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter” in Matt Hamill.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the fight in a message to MMAFighting.com.
Tito Ortiz (15-7-1) has been through quite a bit over the last several months, none of which included time in the Octagon. The former light heavyweight champion coached during the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and was scheduled to meet fellow coach Chuck Liddell at the end of the year.
In talking with his doctors, Ortiz was advised to undergo neck surgery that would knock him out of the scheduled fight with Liddell. UFC president Dana White decided to free him up to have the surgery immediately and replaced him with Rich Franklin as a coach on the show.
Months later Ortiz was swept up in a swirl of controversy after an arrest at his home, where he was taken away on allegations of domestic violence. No charges were ever filed, and Ortiz returned home where he resides with his girlfriend Jenna Jameson and their sons.
A successful surgery has allowed Ortiz to finally return to training full time, and now his focus can solely go back to fighting.
Opposing Ortiz for his return fight will be old friend and pupil Matt Hamill (9-2), who enters the fight at UFC 121 fresh off a war with Keith Jardine in June where he picked up a majority decision victory. The win was Hamill’s fourth straight.
Hamill also took time off following his fight with Jon Jones last December to recover from a shoulder injury he suffered in the fight, bouncing back strong with his performance in June.
The fight with Ortiz and Hamill will be a featured bout on the UFC 121 card, headlined by UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar defending his belt against Cain Velasquez.