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UFC 71: “This could be the beginning of the end for Ortiz..,”

Even though UFC 71 is still several months away lots of news surrounding the event has been surfacing lately, perhaps most notably the announcement of a match between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans (10-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC). Sam Caplan from Five Ounces of Pain and seems to already have his opinion on who will win the fight. Here’s what Caplan had to say:

“Tito Ortiz could be in store for his second consecutive loss if he ends up fighting Rashad Evans at UFC 71 in May. Evans, while being less experienced than Ortiz, is a superior standup fighter. Ortiz is noted for his ability to take down fighters and beat them with his superb ground and pound game. But he did a poor job of setting up his takedowns against Chuck Liddell at UFC 66 and could struggle to get Evans, a former amateur wrestler at the collegiate level, to the ground.”

I have yet to make my mind up on who I think will win this fight but I definitely think it will be an intriguing bout. Tito Ortiz (15-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) brings nearly double the MMA experience into the fight as well as 9 more UFC wins and 14 more UFC fights than Evans. Despite this experience advantage Ortiz lost his most recent fight against Chuck Liddell in December when the fight was stopped in the third round. Here’s more from Caplan:

“This could be the beginning of the end for Ortiz, who has failed to evolve as a fighter or earn a notable win since 2002. One could counter and say that Ortiz’s split-decision victory against Forrest Griffin last April at UFC 59 qualifies as a “notable” win, but many felt Griffin was the true winner of that fight and Griffin was TKO’d by Keith Jardine at UFC 66. Few fighters are more dangerous than Ortiz when it comes to striking from someone’s closed guard, but his standup is still suspect and his submission ability is questionable, at best”

This fight will be an interesting battle between contrasting styles pitting an undefeated Rashad Evans against a UFC veteran in Ortiz that has lots to prove following his failed title attempt late in 2006. Both fighters will be trying harder than ever for a win with Evans trying to prove he has what it takes to win against the “big guns” of the UFC while Ortiz looks to prove he still has what it takes to post a so-called “notable” win against the undefeated Evans.

UFC 71 will be in Las Vegas on May 26th. Here is the current rumored card for the event:

Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson
Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans
Keith Jardine vs. TBD
Karo Parisyan vs. Josh Burkman
Ivan Salaverry vs. Terry Martin
Chris Leben vs. Kalib Starnes
Eric Schafer vs. Sean Salmon

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