New York, NY, January 26, 2011 — One of mixed martial arts most renowned icons, Tito Ortiz (16-8-1), returns to the Octagon® to take on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-4) in Spike TV’s “UFC® Fight Night™” live from the KeyArena in Seattle, WA on Saturday, March 26 at 9pm ET/PT. Ortiz’s combination of athleticism and charisma made him one of the sport’s first mainstream stars. Now he looks to get back to the top beginning with his must-win bout against the dangerous Nogueira.
Ortiz, from Huntington Beach, Calif., was a two-time All-American wrestler at Golden West College. Ortiz won his first bout in the Octagon at UFC 13 in May, 1997 and quickly established himself as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Ortiz’s first landmark victory came against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 25 in Japan in April 2000, when he captured the UFC’s vacant light heavyweight title. For the next three and a half years, Ortiz successfully defended the title five times. The two-time TUF head coach, who most recently fought a three-round battle with The Ultimate Fighter season 3 protégé Matt Hamill at UFC 121 in Anaheim, now looks to spark another title run. The first man in his way is Nogueira.
Nogueira, a native of Brazil who is currently fighting out of Gardena, Calif., first made his name in Japan’s PRIDE® organization, where he defeated the likes of Dan Henderson and Alistair Overeem. In November of 2009, he made his debut in the UFC, earning Knockout of the Night honors for his first round stoppage of Luiz Cane. In his next bout, Nogueira battled Jason Brilz to a hard fought split decision victory and Fight of the Night honors. “Lil’ Nog” believes a win over Ortiz will put him firmly in the title picture.
In the co-feature, Anthony Johnson (8-3) fighting out of San Jose, Calif., meets top contender Dan Hardy (23-8, 1 NC), fighting out Nottingham, England, in a clash of exciting welterweights. Johnson burst onto the scene in his UFC debut as an injury replacement to Steve Bruno at “UFC Fight Night 10” in Hollywood, FL, by knocking out Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds. Johnson has since won four of seven bouts, with all his wins coming via knockout. No stranger to stand-up wars, the 28-year-old Hardy seeks a slugfest with Johnson in Seattle.
The Spike telecast will open with a fight in the featherweight division between “The Ultimate Fighter 12” participant Nam Phan (16-9) and Leonard Garcia (19-6-1), in a rematch of their controversial bout during “The Ultimate Fighter Finale” in December 2010. Fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M., Garcia was awarded a three round split decision victory over Phan, from Garden Grove, Calif. The surprising verdict garnered an immediate rematch announcement by UFC President Dana White, and on March 26th, these exciting 145-pounders settle the score.
Also on the televised card will be a welterweight showdown between Duane Ludwig (28-11) and Amir Sadollah (5-2). Denver, Colo. native Ludwig recently defeated Nick Osipczak at UFC 122 in Oberhausen, Germany following a return to the welterweight division, while Sadollah, the season 7 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” is coming off of an impressive decision victory over Peter Sobotta in November.
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