Randy Couture vs. Tito Ortiz
Main Event | UFC Light Heavyweight Championship | 205 lbs
Randy Couture defeats Tito Ortiz via 5 Round Decision
|11-5-0||Pro Record At Fight||10-2-0|
|+150 | Slight Underdog||Betting Odds||-180 | Slight Favorite|
|United States||Nationality||United States|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||Fighting out of||Huntington Beach, California|
|Xtreme Couture||Gym||Team Punishment|
|40||Age at Fight||28|
|205.0 lbs (93.0 kgs)||Weigh-In Result||204.5 lbs (92.8 kgs)|
|6'1" (186cm)||Height||6'3" (190cm)|
|75.0" (191cm)||Reach||74.0" (188cm)|
- Bout Information
- Date: Friday 09.26.2003 at 11:00 PM ET
- Referee: John McCarthy
- Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Center
- Enclosure: Octagon
- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
- Bout Billing: Main Event (fight 9 of 9)
- Weight: Light Heavyweight | 205 lbs (93.0 kg)
- TV Commentary: Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan
- Broadcast: N/A
- Post-Fight Interviewer: Eddie Bravo
- Couture Total Disclosed Pay: $175,000
- Ortiz Total Disclosed Pay: $125,000
- Title on Line: UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
- Belt Status Before Fight: Held by Ortiz
Prior to the five-round beatdown he suffered at the hands of Randy Couture at UFC 44, Tito Ortiz was the most dominant fighter in UFC history, having defended his title a record (at the time) five times, defeating men like Wanderlei Silva, Evan Tanner, and Ken Shamrock along the way. The consecutive wins over Chuck Liddell and Ortiz are largely responsible for the resurgence in Couture's popularity among fans, as it soon became apparent that you can never count "The Natural" out of any fight.
"He knows in his heart why he wouldn't fight Chuck, and he's got to live with that," Couture said about Ortiz prior to the fight. "I am no coward," Ortiz responded. "I am afraid of no man." "It doesn't really matter," Couture said. "I fought Chuck and he didn't." Couture entered the cage first, followed by Ortiz. Rogan: "Randy Couture brings everything to the table. He is easily a better wrestler and easily as good a striker if not better, but the one thing Ortiz has that a lot of people are unaware of is very underrated Jiu-Jitsu submission skills."
The first round was contested largely in the clinch until Couture got the takedown midway through the round, threatening Ortiz with a submission attempt. Ortiz reversed him briefly, but Couture got another slam toward the end of the round and ended up in side control. In the second, Couture got the takedown even faster than in the first, working ground and pound from inside Ortiz's guard for much of the round. Rogan: "Tito so far is not doing anything with his guard; he's just covering up to avoid being pounded." The third round proved to be a continuation of the dominance Couture displayed in the first two, as he controlled Ortiz from bell to bell and took a heavy lead on the scorecards. It slowly became apparent that the fight was a mismatch. Couture could do no wrong while Ortiz proved unable to adjust gameplans. With a visibly exhausted Ortiz offering feeble resistance in the deeper waters of the championship rounds, Couture opened up with submission attempts and damaging strikes from the mount and side control positions, breaking the champion's will to fight with each blow. Couture went so far as to spank the defeated Ortiz in the closing seconds as Ortiz rolled for a desperate leglock. Rogan: "Randy Couture has defied the odds and once again completely dominated a much younger opponent." And that was all she wrote, as Couture took home the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with flying colors.
Following the win over Ortiz, Couture reemerged as a dominant force in the UFC's light heavyweight division. He lost the rematch and rubber match with Liddell in 2005-2006, which prompted him to move up and, even more improbably, take the UFC Heavyweight Championship from Tim Sylvia in 2007.