Tito Ortiz | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The rumored light heavyweight attraction between Tito Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira planned for UFC 128 in Newark, N.J. will now reportedly serve as the main event for UFC Fight Night 24, going down March 26 in Seattle.
Ortiz first hinted at the bout's change in location overnight, stating that he would not be fighting in New Jersey, but he would still be facing Nogueira in March. The bout's new status as Fight Night 24 main event was first reported by MMA Junkie on Tuesday morning. Neither the bout nor the event has been officially announced by the promotion.
A former UFC light heavyweight champion, Ortiz has fallen on hard times as of late, losing four of his last five bouts. The lone non-loss in that span was a draw to contender Rashad Evans at UFC 73 in 2007. Ortiz's last victory came at the expense of an aging Ken Shamrock in their third fight in 2006. Since besting Shamrock, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has dropped contests to former champions Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida and Forest Griffin. Ortiz most recently lost a clear-cut unanimous decision to his onetime “Ultimate Fighter” protege Matt Hamill at UFC 121 in October.
Nogueira also comes off a loss, as he was outpointed by up-and-comer Ryan Bader at UFC 119 in September. A winner of seven of his last eight bouts, “Minotoro” looked strong in his UFC debut, knocking out Luiz Arthur Cane and earning “Knockout of the Night” at UFC 106 a year ago. His second bout with the promotion was not as impressive, as he edged out newcomer Jason Brilz with a controversial split decision. Both Nogueira and Brilz were awarded “Fight of the Night” bonuses for their efforts.