Two former light heavyweight champions will collide for a third time this summer, as promotion officials Tuesday confirmed that Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin are slated to lock horns at UFC 148.
Expected to take place July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, UFC 148 will feature the middleweight return of former 185-pound king Rich Franklin, as “Ace” squares off with onetime Strikeforce champion Cung Le. Also at middleweight, contenders Michael Bisping and Tim Boetsch will meet in a pronounced clash of styles.
Ortiz and Griffin initially faced off at UFC 59 in 2006, with Ortiz edging the first-ever “Ultimate Fighter” winner via split decision. Griffin returned the favor three years later at UFC 106, taking a split nod of his own to even the score.
Known as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” for the vast majority of his career, Ortiz, 37, first captured UFC gold in 2000 and defended the crown five times before losing the belt to Randy Couture in 2003. More recently, the Californian has fallen on hard times in the cage, losing six of his last eight outings dating back to 2006. Ortiz appeared to right his ship last year with a first-round submission of rising talent Ryan Bader, but the former champion followed the victory with back-to-back defeats to Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to close out 2011.
Following his 2005 victory over Stephan Bonnar, Griffin rattled off five wins in seven outings before capturing the light heavyweight title by outpointing Quinton Jackson at UFC 86 in 2008. Griffin’s reign would be short-lived, however, as the 32 year old was knocked out by Rashad Evans in his first title defense five months later. Since that defeat, Griffin has split his last four bouts, most recently falling by knockout to Mauricio Rua at UFC 134 in August.