Will Tito Ortiz be No. 1 after his UFC 133 fight with Rashad Evans? (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Everyone is probably going to be thankful once UFC 133 goes by the wayside. The card has been one of the more cursed shows in UFC history and I'm sure all the fighters are walking on eggshells in the hotel trying not to be the next person to get hurt. Here are three burning questions for tonight's "UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz" in Philadelphia.
Yes, I think he does. I understand he went nearly five years without a win, but I think it makes sense to give Ortiz a chance if he beats Evans. I might be speaking more from a business perspective here than a fighting perspective, but if Ortiz wins tonight, he'll be hotter than he's been in years and he'll have just defeated two top-10 opponents in a little more than 30 days. That's impressive. Really impressive, in fact. Plus, take a look at who would be next for the winner of the UFC 135 fight between Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson. If Ortiz wins and knocks Evans out of contention, who else is ready for a title shot? The winner of the UFC 134 fight between Mauricio Rua and Forrest Griffin? Well, if Rua and Jones win, the world is not ready for that fight again. If Griffin wins, it's basically he and Ortiz. Lyoto Machida hasn't done enough to earn a shot yet and nobody else is ready. The only other option would be hotshotting Dan Henderson to a title shot. Depending on how things shake out, if Ortiz wins, he's the most worthy.
Will Yoshihiro Akiyama ever find success in the United States?
Unfortunately, this one isn't looking good, which is disappointing because he is such a fun fighter to watch. Not too many fighters completely win over UFC president Dana White, but Akiyama has managed to do that. White, though, is probably going to have a hard time justifying keeping him around after he inevitably loses to Vitor Belfort tonight. Belfort is probably going to dwarf the much-smaller Akiyama in the cage and knock him around a little bit before knocking him completely out. We've seen Akiyama just put his head down and start swinging too many times in the Octagon. Belfort is going to make him pay for that and possibly send him his walking papers in the process. If this is the end for Akiyama in the UFC, it'll be interesting to see where he lands.
Which fighter from the remainder of the card most needs an impressive performance?
Of all the fighters on this show, none need a big effort more than former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown. Brown has lost three of his last four fights and two straight and will almost certainly be shown the door if he loses to Nam Phan in a preliminary bout tonight. After two straight decision losses to Diego Nunes and Rani Yahya, Brown's back is against the wall. Will he be able to pull it all together and take him the win in a fight he is favored to come out on top in? Time will tell, but as a former world champion, Brown needs this bad. We know he's talented and has skills, but he needs to bring everything together.