Ortiz Taps to McGeary in Explosive Dynamite Clash

Saturday night signified a career coming full-circle for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz. To paraphrase the Unrivaled: Tito Ortiz special, his career was built on being a legend killer (pardon the Randy Orton reference.)

24-hours removed from the Ortiz/McGeary bout, the torch has officially been passed. Following months of anticipation- all of which started when Bellator debuted in St. Louis in June- Ortiz showed that I made the correct prediction (prediction record now 3-2). It wasn’t ring-rust or his age that put an end to Ortiz hopes of making history; it was McGeary’s feared submission ability.

Ortiz, now a legend in his own right, built his legacy on takedowns and “Ground N’ Pound. As lead Bellator commentator Sean Grande said, “He looked good for four minutes.” It was in those final seconds though that the California native’s homecoming was spoiled by the defending champion’s inverted triangle choke.

"The guy’s slick, dude. That reverse triangle – we defended that over and over. We defended triangles. We defended all the positions. I got away from the armlock. I mean, I was going to let him break my arm before anything. I was not tapping. I was pulling, pulled out, and came back down.” “As far as me coming back, I’ll wait (to make a decision),” he said.​

Since I spent so much time focusing on records in the Ortiz/McGeary preview, I now have to write this to follow up: Ortiz now has an underwhelming 3-8-1 record since his last UFC win in 2006 over Ken Shamrock. This is ironic, given that many feel Shamrock is fighting past his prime and is who’s feud helped propel Ortiz into the spotlight.

Ortiz's career is definitely in its sunset years, but he appeared healthy before and after despite a history of neck and back issues. It appears that he is now on the bottom rung of a ladder filled with new “Young Guns”. I’ve learned to never say never, especially when discussing the sport of MMA, but I do think that this was the one big chance for Ortiz to prove himself under a new promotional banner.

Ortiz has already won titles and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. This isn’t written out of disrespect, but while I can bet Tito didn’t sign with Bellator for a few sparse fights, I can see some viewing his career as being tainted by ending in the middle of the pack. For now however, he isn’t concerned with his next time in a cage.

“I’m going to chill for a bit. I think I’m just going to enjoy this time right now. I missed out on the summer. I missed out on a lot of time with my family. And I’m 40 years old, man. I’ve been doing this sh-t for 18-and-a-half years...“(I’m going to) let my body heal a little bit – (and) let my mind heal a little bit. I still love training. But I just want to hang out with my kids, wake up with them, take them to school, be a dad for a bit – (have) me and my girl Amber enjoy life for a little bit.”

-Source: Dann Stupp/ USA Today’s MMAJunkie.com

I didn’t get the particulars right in my preview, (TKO/KO for McGeary in Round 3 compared to a real-life Submission in the first). Even so, I’ll take the overall win and move on -like McGeary. UFC veteran Phil Davis not only debuted successfully for Bellator, but won their single-night Light Heavyweight tournament with McGeary in his sights.

Bellator MMA returns to Scottrade Center on November 6 for Bellator 145: Vengeance.