Forrest Griffin edged Tito Ortiz by split decision on Saturday in the main event of UFC 106 in Las Vegas, using a dominant third round to even their career series at 1-1 in the pay-per-view headliner.
The first two rounds between the pair were close, as Ortiz wrestled Griffin to the ground several times and unloaded ground and pound while Forrest connected with punches and kicks on the feet, but Griffin dominated the third, battering Ortiz with strikes to earn the split decision with scores of 28-29, 30-27, and 29-28.
Griffin snaps a two-fight losord his ing streak and improves to 17-6 with the win, while the returning Ortiz, fighting for the first time in 18-months, falls to 15-7-1 after failing to record his first victory since 2006.
Excuses were aplenty after the bout, as Griffin said a broken foot hampered his performance in the fight, while Ortiz said his training was limited due to bulging discs in his surgically-repaired back as well as a facial fracture that resulted in a noticeable black eye.
The narrow decision and satisfying action means a rubber match between the former light heavyweight champions is likely, and both fighters indicated after the matchup that they were open to meeting again.
In the UFC 106 co-headliner, welterweight contender Josh Koscheck resorted to his wrestling to take out knockout artist Anthony Johnson, recovering from an illegal knee and powerful combination suffered in the first to force Johnson to tap to a rear naked choke late in the second round.
After the win, Koscheck, improving to 14-4 with his second-straight win, called out upcoming welterweight challenger Dan Hardy and plead for a rematch with title-holder Georges St-Pierre. Johnson falls to 8-3 and has his three-fight win streak snapped in the loss.
Also on the UFC 106 main card, Paulo Thiago grinded out a unanimous decision over newcomer Jacob Volkmann, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira made his UFC debut with a first-round knockout of Luiz Cane, and Amir Sadollah battered a return Phil Baroni en route to a unanimous decision victory.
In preliminary card action, Ben Saunders picked up a first-round knockout of Marcus Davis, Kendall Grove forced Jake Rosholt to tap to an opening-round triangle choke, Brian Foster recovered from two illegal strikes to take out Brock Larson via second-round TKO, Fabricio Camoes and Caol Uno fought to a majority draw after Camoes lost a point, and George Sotiropoulos submitted Jason Dent with an armbar in the night’s first fight.
The official results for UFC 106 were:
- Forrest Griffin def. Tito Ortiz via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Josh Koscheck def. Anthony Johnson via submission (rear naked choke) — Round 2, 4:47
- Paulo Thiago def. Jacob Volkmann via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Luiz Cane via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:56
- Amir Sadollah def. Phil Baroni via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ben Saunders def. Marcus Davis via KO (knee) – Round 1, 3:24
- Kendall Grove def. Jake Rosholt via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 3:59
- Brian Foster def. Brock Larson via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 3:25
- Fabricio Camoes vs. Caol Uno – majority draw (29-27 28-28 28-28)
- George Sotiropoulos def. Jason Dent via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 4:36