INGLEWOOD, Calif. — This time, Tito Ortiz went out the way he wanted.
Fighting on his 42nd birthday, the legendary former UFC light heavyweight champion from Huntington Beach, Calif. submitted Chael Sonnen to a raucous reception from a partisan Southern California crowd at the Forum.
Ortiz, who first retired in 2012 after a loss to Forrest Griffin, won via submission at 2:03 of the opening round Saturday in the main event of Bellator 170.
“I’m happy I was able to do this, and I’m so happy I was able to do this in my hometown,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz (19-12-1) shot for a single leg takedown early and while he landed it, Sonnen managed to work Ortiz into a guillotine choke. Ortiz escaped, eventually got Sonnen’s back, and finished him with a rear-naked choke.
After the fight was waved off, Ortiz made his signature grave-digging motion and then scaled the top of the cage, reminiscent of his post-fight celebrations during his 2000-03 run as UFC light heavyweight champion.
Ortiz, of Huntington Beach, Calif., finished 3-1 in his Bellator run, which came after a retirement of a year.
Sonnen (29-15-1), who looked a full weight class lighter that Ortiz, was fighting for the first time since a Nov. 2013 loss to Rashad Evans. He’s lost four of his past five fights.
After the bout, Ortiz had his son, Jacob, place his gloves on the mat to symbolize his retirement.
In the co-main event, Paul Daley provided what a highlight-reek finish which will no doubt rank high on the Knockout of the Year list when 2017 is said and done in the opening round of his welterweight bout with Brennan Ward.
Ward spent the early part of the fight recklessly rushing at the veteran Daley. Daley seized an opening by connecting with a kicked spinning back elbow, then followed with a picture-perfect flying knee for the knockout.
Ward (14-5) was on the canvas on the mat for close to 10 minutes before being taken out on a stretcher. He gave the crowd a thumb’s up to indicate he was conscious.
After winning for the sixth time in his past seven fights. Daley expressed concern for Ward before laying down the gauntlet to new Bellator signee Rory MacDonald.
“I want to wish Ward well, I hope he’s okay,” said Daley (39-14-2). “I respect him. I hope he’s okay after this fight. I’m looking at everyone, marquee names and everyone. Rory MacDonald is in Bellator, he thinks he can do his bulls**t over here, isn’t going to happen.”
The less said about the middleweight snoozefest between Hisaki Kato and Ralek Gracie, the better. But since we have to talk about it, Gracie, the Metamoris founder who had not competed in MMA since 2010, and Kato, who is best known for knocking out Joe Schilling in both MMA and kickboxing, spent the better part of 15 minutes doing everything but fighting.
The lack of action was so bad that referee Jason Herzog paused the bout and admonished both in the middle of the second round for not engaging.
Kato (8-2), though, indisputably initiated the fight’s few exchanges, and that was enough to earn him a unanimous decision. The judges’ scores were a pair of 29-28s and a 30-27 in favor of Kato, who won his third straight bout.
“It was a striker against a jiu-jitsu specialist, so I knew what I had to do tonight,” Kato said. “That last round was a bit dangerous for me, because you never want to be on the bottom against a Gracie fighter. I knew I had won the first two rounds, so I just had to keep it tight and hold for the last two minutes.”
An odd sequence in the second round of the featherweight fight between Emmanuel Sanchez and Georgi Karakhanyan led to an odd scorecard.
Moments after the bout was briefly stopped for an illegal upkick by Karakhanyan, which was not penalized, Sanchez (14-7) landed a pair of big knees to a clearly downed Karakhanyan (26-7-1), for which he was docked a point.
But it also came during a totally dominant round by Sanchez, as two of three judges scored the round 9-8. So even with the deduction, Sanchez managed to take home the win over the former WSOF champion, with a pair of 29-27s overcoming a 28-28 for the majority decision.
Sanchez, a Roufusport competitor from Milwaukee, has won four of his past five fights.
Derek Campos (18-6) keeps working his way up the Bellator lightweight ranks. The Lubbock, TX native kicked off the main card with a unanimous decision win over Derek Anderson (14-3) in a bout held at a catchweight 161 pounds after Anderson missed weight. The judges’ scores were 29-28 across the board.
The story of this fight is pretty straightforward: The duo mostly stood in the pocket and thumped each other in the head. Campos got the best of the action in the first two rounds, including a knockdown in the second, as he earned his third consecutive victory.
“Really happy with my performance. I knew that I needed to have a big second round and I went out and did just that,” Campos said. “Kept pushing and kept grinding. Get the takedowns and control the scrambles. It was a fun scrap and I knew I did enough to win.”
“King” Kevin Casey’s Bellator debut had a familiar frustrating tone. Casey (9-5-2, 2 NC) got 10-8’s across the board in the opening round of his middleweight fight with Keith Berry (15-3-1, 1 NC), but Berry rallied in the last two rounds. The judges’ scores were a pair of 29-28s and a 29-27 for Casey in a majority draw.
That gives Casey a win, two draws, and two no-contests in his past five fights. Both draws occurred at the Forum.
“I don’t have anything more to say than I feel like I got robbed,” Casey said.
It took awhile to get there, but Chinzo Machida gave the crowd what they hope to see when a fighter with his last name competes. The older brother of Lyoto Machida dropped Jamar Ocampo with a wicked right to the jaw, then followed with a kick to the ribs for a TKO at the 3:48 of the third round.
With the win, Machida (5-2) won his fourth straight fight and improved to 2-0 in Bellator.
“I wasn’t pleased with my performance, I have plenty to work on, but I’m glad I got the finish,” Machida said. “I want to return to action shortly, I believe staying active is important to my success.”
Former UFC heavyweight Jack May (9-3) made his Bellator debut a success with a 41-second TKO of Dave Cryer (11-3). May, of Chino Hills, Calif. rained down punches until referee Frank Trigg waved it off. May scored his seventh career finish and won his second straight fight.
“This win has been a long time coming,” said May. “After tonight’s win, I’m looking to get signed to a full-time Bellator MMA contract and make waves in 2017.”
Source:: mma fighting