Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and UFC light heavyweight title contender Chael Sonnen collide on January 21st in the main event of Bellator 170 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

One Last Hurrah

Bellator continues to put up the blast from the past matchups, this time pitting 41-year old Tito Ortiz against the nearly 40-year old Chael Sonnen. But despite the fact that these two fighters are way past their athletic primes, they remain two of the more popular figures in MMA. Still, apart from being very good draws, there is almost nothing left in the tank for both.

Tito Ortiz has lost seven of his last 10 bouts and is coming off a 2015 loss to Liam McGeary at Bellator 142. He’s 2-1 in his Bellator career but has not won since a split decision win over Stephan Bonnar in 2014. On the other hand, Chael Sonnen has been an respectable 6-4 in his last 10 bouts. Sonnen is coming off a TKO loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 167, way back in 2013. He’s been hit or miss lately, though, splitting his last 8 bouts with four wins and four losses. Chael’s last victory came in 2013 against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC Fight Night 26.

Wrestler Vs Striker

Sonnen was an All-American wrestler during his college days and was a good international Greco-Roman wrestler. Having said that, wrestling is the core of Sonnen’s MMA game. He is widely known for his double leg takedown, which used to be one of the best in the business. Chael does have respectable striking skills but typically he uses it to set up the takedown.

Ortiz, meanwhile, gained fame for being the ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ who punched his way to superstardom. Known as one of the fighters who brought MMA to the mainstream, Ortiz used to own a punishing ground and pound game. His powerful hands give him the advantage here in the striking game, but he has a weakness of being foolishly lured to a slugfest which has led to defeat several times.

Plus Money

Sonnen opened as a -155 favorite against Ortiz’s +125. Those lines haven’t changed much since at -160 and +130, respectively. With two fighters who’ve been doing anything but fighting lately, it’s really hard to pick a winner here because you don’t know what each has got left in the tank, if any. It’s really another show for Bellator, but one that’s interesting to bet on.

The slightly younger Sonnen may have the fighting edge because of his style. Given Sonnen’s base and Ortiz’s striking, Chael will take his chances on the ground rather than on his feet against a heavy handed opponent like Tito Ortiz. Having said that, Ortiz himself has a polished ground game and can finish the fight on the mat too. The question, of course, is what remains of Sonnen’s game after the time he’s spent off the cage. This will be Sonnen’s first Bellator bout.

The value of the plus money on Ortiz is tempting and then there are the intangibles. First, Ortiz has fought more recently. He is also the naturally bigger man between the two and will be the crowd favorite since the fight will be in California. So, to pick between two aged veterans, I’d rather take my chance on the plus money and intangibles. It also doesn’t hurt that Tito felt slighted by Sonnen. Unsurprisingly, we’re taking Tito Ortiz by knockout.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *