Ortiz No Match for Evans at UFC 133

By Brian Knapp Aug 7, 2011
A vicious and beautifully executed knee strike to the body crippled Tito Ortiz and sent Rashad Evans to a second-round technical knockout in the UFC 133 “Evans vs. Ortiz 2” headliner on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The knee and follow-up punches buried Ortiz 4:48 into round two.

Backed by superior athleticism, speed and power, Evans outclassed Ortiz for vast stretches of the fight -- a rematch of their July 2007 encounter at UFC 73 that ended in a draw. There was no doubt about this one.

Evans weathered a first-round takedown from Ortiz, worked back to his feet and unleashed his hands, swarming the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” with punches against the cage. Many were blocked, but the onslaught chipped away at Ortiz’s resolve. Evans then executed a powerful slam, passed guard into side control and set up shop with his ground-and-pound. Ortiz survived, but he left the first round damaged and winded.

Ortiz (16-9-1, 15-9-1 UFC) made a last-ditch attempt at an unlikely victory 90 seconds into round two, when he cinched a guillotine choke. However, he failed to corral Evans in full guard, and the former champion freed himself with minimal effort, shifted into top position and trapped the fading Ortiz in a mounted crucifix. Elbows fell, as Ortiz bucked from the bottom. Later, with Ortiz in a seated position against the cage, Evans delivered a devastating knee to the sternum. Ortiz folded, the finish imminent. Referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in seconds later.

“I feel great,” said Evans, who fought for the first time in more than a year. “I feel like all the trials and tribulations have paid off. When you’re in the valley, you’re tested the most, not when you’re at your peak.”

Evans (16-1-1, 11-1-1 UFC) made it clear he wants a crack at the winner of the upcoming UFC 135 showdown between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

“I got my first performance in, and I want to get at Jon Jones,” he said. “I want my belt back. Whether he has it or Rampage has it, I’m getting my belt back.”

Ortiz, who scored an improbable submission victory over Ryan Bader at UFC 132 a little more than a month ago, offered no excuses in defeat.

“I tip my hat to Rashad,” said Ortiz, who has made more appearances (25) inside the Octagon than any other fighter in history. “Good luck in winning the world title. I put my ass on the line and fought my ass off. He beat me at my best. I hope the fans got their money’s worth.”

Belfort Barrage Sinks Akiyama

The man they call “The Phenom” was, in a word, phenomenal.

Former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort blitzed and finished Yoshihiro Akiyama with his devastating hands in the co-main event, as he left the judoka facedown and unconscious 1:52 into the first round of their 185-pound bout. Akiyama, who has lost three in a row, never had a chance against the overwhelming power and speed the Brazilian brought to bear.

Belfort (20-9, 9-5 UFC) moved in behind a straight left hand and clipped the backpedaling Akiyama with a left hook to the temple. Akiyama went down, and the Brazilian swarmed. He ripped into Akiyama (13-4, 2 NC, 1-3 UFC) with vicious rights and lefts, one of which turned out the lights.

Afterward, Belfort turned his attention toward the winner of the forthcoming UFC 134 matchup between middleweight king Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami. Silva knocked out Belfort with a front kick at UFC 126 in February.

“I feel great,” Belfort said. “I feel like if [Silva] hadn’t landed that kick, that’s what would have happened to him. I want the winner [of Silva-Okami].”

Ebersole Ground-and-Pound Finishes Hallman

Brian Ebersole File Photo

Ebersole absolutely smashed Hallman.
Brian Ebersole, his chest hair again shaved into the shape of an arrow, posted his ninth consecutive win in decisive fashion, as he wrecked Dennis Hallman with brutal ground-and-pound 4:28 into their featured welterweight matchup.

Hallman secured an early takedown, immediately moved to his foe’s back and worked for a rear-naked choke for more than two minutes. His grappling work went unrewarded, as Ebersole (48-14-1, 1 NC, 2-0 UFC) shifted into top position and mauled Hallman from the top. Elbows and punches softened “Superman,” who was decked out in blue bikini bottom trunks. Hallman (50-14-2, 1 NC, 3-5 UFC) failed to control Ebersole’s posture and paid the heaviest of prices as a result.

Another monstrous elbow on the heels of a series of hammerfists and punches knocked him unconscious for a brief moment, brought about the stoppage and halted his modest two-fight winning streak.

“I’m amazingly happy,” Ebersole said. “I came out in a bit of daze and got taken down, but I’ve been there with black belts before. Once I got on top, I’m the wrestler. He’s got a great top game. I wasn’t sure about his bottom game. I know he’s flexible, and he can get his legs up and threaten.”

Philippou Outpoints Rivera, Takes Split Verdict

Ring of Combat veteran Constantinos Philippou moved up on the UFC 133 lineup in place of the injured Alessio Sakara and made the most of the opportunity, as he recorded his first Octagon victory in a split decision over Jorge Rivera in a middleweight showcase. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them in favor of Philippou.

The two men quickly engaged in a grueling clinch battle, as they spent much of their time against the cage and on the ground. Philippou (8-2, 1 NC, 1-1 UFC) delivered takedowns in the first and third rounds, and he nearly stopped Rivera in the second. There, he drove the well-traveled veteran to the mat with heavy blows, wheeled to his back and attacked with punches from the rear. Rivera withstood the barrage, as referee Mario Yamasaki hovered above him, imploring the 39-year-old to return fire or risk being stopped.

The middleweights entered round three visibly fatigued. Rivera (19-9, 7-7 UFC) landed the cleaner strikes but failed to put his punches together with conviction. He had Philippou pinned in a seated position against the cage at one point but could not finish it, as the Serra-Longo Fight Team representative returned to his feet and went back to work. Rivera has lost back-to-back bouts for the first time as a professional.

MacDonald Buries Pyle in First

Once-beaten Canadian prospect Rory MacDonald advanced another level on the welterweight ladder, as he stopped respected veteran Mike Pyle on first-round punches in a featured 170-pound matchup. Pyle’s night came to an end 3:54 into round one.

Pyle delivered a couple of takedowns but could not keep MacDonald (12-1, 3-1 UFC) corralled on the ground, where his skills figured to play better against a more athletic opponent. Having returned to a standing position, MacDonald wobbled him with a left hook, threatened with a standing guillotine choke and drove Pyle (21-8-1, 4-3 UFC) to the ground in retreat. A thunderous left hand set off a torrent of ground-and-pound from the former King of the Cage champion, as Pyle covered up in a feeble attempt to defend himself. More punches and elbows brought forth the stoppage for the 22-year-old MacDonald, who posted his second win in as many appearances and has the look of a future champion.

“I’m very happy,” MacDonald said. “I wish it would have went a little longer so I could have shown more. I was just trying to control his body and ground-and-pound. I knew I hit him hard on the ground. As soon as I felt that clean impact, I knew it was time to finish.”

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