I like Twitter. I probably shouldn’t. But it’s filled with the echo chamber I crave: especially in preparation for Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Following a bunch of MMA writers and fans means my timeline was inundated with outrage at the image of Liddell, slumped on the ground — like a zombie who wanted one last bite of human flesh, but couldn’t because he forgot his mandibles had been blown off by the town sheriff.
On the one hand, I get it. Outrage is a component of disbelief. And who didn’t look on in disbelief (?) — as Liddell displayed less mobility than a plush doll, and the wide-eyed demeanor of a man whose last supper was a fried Oreo draped in grape soda. It was a pod person doing an imitation of Liddell in a cage fight against the alien race that had enslaved his species once before.
On the other hand, would people have been as outraged if it was Ortiz that had been knocked out instead of Liddell? I doubt it. We knew what we were getting. We just didn’t know how bad we’d get it.
- I don’t know that there’s any one sufficient way to sum up the main event. I could say Ortiz’s boxing looked a little more dexterous, but the loyal opposition was the undead, so analysis is pointless here. What I will say is that Ortiz mixed it up nice with kicks, and even though his head movement molasses-like, it was more than what he’s usually capable of. He didn’t look 43 years young, but I don’t have any issue buying the notion that Ortiz has gotten past the truly serious injuries and general turmoil that have plagued his storied career.
- There was one thing worse than seeing Liddell put in front of the guillotine: ring officials trying to stop Tito’s gravedigger schtick (something that gets better in reverse). He didn’t run outside the ring and flying double stomp John Hackleman: what’s the problem? I’m glad Ortiz fought through it. “They didn’t stop s—t!” he laughed during the press conference.
- Where Ortiz’s press conference was heartfelt, and enjoyable, Liddell’s quotes were a lot more concerning. Especially given his previous pledge. He got stalked, pressured, and knock out by a 43 year old Ortiz. At least the fight with Rich Franklin was competitive. Liddell’s KO body language was worrisome too. His lights didn’t flicker until he was faceplanted: I’m not a doctor but everything about Liddell’s cage behavior was gruesome.
- The last thing I’ll say about the main event is how well done the presentation was. The anthem was a nice touch — and the kind of thing that would be cool to see for all competing nationalities — and as much as I don’t miss Limp Bizkit or the dreck they spawned, I still got nostalgic goosebumps for Ortiz’ walkout.
- Deron Winn defetted Tom Lawlor in a fight that had its moments, but not enough. I’m impressed with Winn just by sheer virtue of his stature for a light heavyweight. I just question the sustainability.
- The theme of the night was definitely “had its moments.” Gleison Tibau had moments where he looked like he was gonna put Efrain Escudero down, but Escudero — to his credit — battled smartly in defeat. Escudero’s a long way from his “stopped the future lightweight Anderson Silva hype train” days, but both men put up a decent fight.
- Ricardo Palacios put on a show against Walel Watson. Watson’s head was trapped in amber, and Palacios made him pay, eventually catching him with a street fighter combination that Fite TV was kind enough to catch via ref cam.
- James Barnes pulled off a slick armbar against Albert Morales, who simply didn’t fight with enough urgency (though credit to him for proposing to his girlfriend).
- Jay Silva’s win over Oscar Cota was pretty much what you expect from blown-up heavyweights. It was technical in spots, but mostly just your typical heavyweight blubberfest minus the excess blubber.
- The analysis duo of Frank Mir and Rashad Evans was fairly inoffensive. Mir was his usual verbal self, and nothing stood out in terms of questionable production, so kudos to Oscar De La Hoya?