Sunday, April 16, 2006


ANAHEIM, Calif. (CP) - Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz scored an unimpressive split decision over reality TV show alumnus Forrest Griffin on Saturday night in UFC 59: Reality Check.
Griffin shook his head in disbelief when the decision was announced, but later blamed a slow start in the first round and a takedown in the third as the reason he lost.
Griffin, a 27-year-old former Georgia police officer, won his six-figure contract to fight in the UFC on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show.
In the co-main event of the mixed martial arts card, former champion Tim Sylvia (23-2-0) upset heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (11-4-0) by TKO at 2:43 of the first round.
Seconds earlier, Arlovski had floored Sylvia with a big right but the big man recovered and floored the champion with a short right hand. The referee stepped in when Arlovski was unable to defend himself.
Arlovski, known as the Pit Bull, had forced Sylvia to tap out after just 47 seconds in their first meeting when he clamped an ankle lock on the six-foot-eight behemoth in UFC 51: Super Saturday in February 2005.
Prior to that, Sylvia had his arm broken in a loss to Frank Mir in UFC 48: Payback in June 2004. After the bout, Sylvia said Mir was his next target.
A six-foot-four native of Minsk, Belarus, Arlovski now makes his home in Chicago.
Saturday's mixed martial arts card was the Ultimate Fighting Championship's first foray into California, with the UFC boasting the Arrowhead Pond event as its fastest ever sellout.
Ortiz, who said he had injured his knee training, was booed after the Griffin win.
"I'm Tito Ortiz and I'm staying here for a long, long time," Ortiz said in response to the boos.
Ortiz took Griffin down early, and cut him with a flurry of elbows to the head. Griffin eventually got to his feet and tried to trade blows but Ortiz took him down again, grinding Griffin's face into a bloody mess.
In the second round, Griffin finally found his groove. He avoided the takedown and swung away.
Ortiz's corner told him in no uncertain terms to take the fight back to the floor for the final round. But the 31-year-old former champion, known as the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, couldn't do it as Griffin kept pushing him off. Ortiz finally took Griffin down with 90 seconds remaining but could not finish him off and Griffin got back to his feet for a final exchange of blows.
"He won it with that takedown," Griffin said.
The win raised Ortiz's record to 14-4-0 while Griffin slipped to 12-3-0.
In other action Saturday:
-Former middleweight champion Evan Tanner (36-7-0) defeated Justin Levens (7-2-0) by triangle submission at 3:14 of the first round. Levens was a late injury replacement for Jeremy Horn.
-: Jeff (The Snowman) Monson extended his win streak to 15 bouts with a dull split decision over Brazil's Marcio Cruz, who defeated former heavyweight champion Mir in UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture 3 in February. The win raised Monson's record to 21-5-0 while Cruz fell to 2-1-0.
-Sean Sherk (29-2-1) won a unanimous decision over a disbelieving Nick Diaz (11-6-0) in a 170-pound bout. Sherk said later he was moving down in weight to the 155-pound lightweight division.
NOTES: UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie is set for May 27 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with welterweight champion Matt Hughes taking on legend Royce Gracie in a non-title fight. ... Montreal's Georges St. Pierre will meet Hughes for the 170-pound title later this year. Hughes won their first meeting by first-round submission.
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