UFC in local newspapers

Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram and The Daily Breeze featured a UFC article in thier newpapers today:

Liddell stops Ortiz in the 3rd round
Champion retains his UFC light-heavyweight title with a thorough beating in their much-anticipated mixed martial arts rematch.

Despite Chuck Liddell's prefight proclaimations that his fists would shut Tito Ortiz's mouth, that wasn't the case.

Upon the conclusion of UFC 66 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Ortiz was faced with a microphone and once again wasn't shy about saying what was on his mind: "Chuck's the best."

That was really all that could be said after Liddell scored a vicious TKO victory over Ortiz in the third round of their much-anticipated rematch for Liddell's light-heavyweight championship before a sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd of 14,067.

Though it took a little more than one round longer -- Liddell finished Ortiz just 38 seconds into the second round in April of 2004, compared to 3:59 of the third round in the sequel -- it was no less of an impressive victory.

"This was the most satisfying victory of my career," Liddell said. "Tito came out and looked good. It was a good fight. I knew I had him hurt and I just kept throwing punches until (referee Mario Yamasaki) decided to stop it."

Liddell (20-3, 13 knockouts) set the tone early, opening a small cut over Ortiz's left eye with a straight right hand. Seconds later, a looping left hook caught Ortiz high on the head and he staggered to the mat. Liddell, sensing the end might be near, started slamming right hands down onto the skull of Ortiz, who was able to use his forearms to deflect most of the punches.

Liddell seemed to tire early in the third round. But Ortiz appeared to injure his foot on a kick to Liddell's shin and it seemed to reinvigorate the champion. A little more than three minutes into the third round, the two started exchanging punches and Ortiz landed a solid punch to Liddell's jaw.

But the San Luis Obispo native didn't budge and a solid left hook to Ortiz's head put him down. Liddell pounced on Ortiz, nicknamed "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy," and started throwing punches at a furious rate.

Though Ortiz appeared to deflect most of them, a few landed squarely and Yamasaki called a halt to the action.

Ortiz did not dispute the stoppage.

"I'm kind of disgusted with myself because I let my fans down," Ortiz (16-5) said. "Chuck's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and he's worked his (butt) off to get to where he's at and he showed it tonight."

"I made a few mistakes ... Chuck fought a great fight," added Ortiz, who acknowledged that he had not seen some of Liddell's overhand rights. "I have no excuses. Liddell's the man tonight."


The crowd was solidly behind the 37-year-old Liddell from the get-go, with the champion receiving thunderous applause on his way to the Octagon and during his introduction. Ortiz's reaction was decidedly mixed, although chants of Tito and Chuck alternated during the fight.

Canadian middleweight Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald ran his UFC record to 2-0 on the undercard, choking out Chris (The Crippler) Leben for another impressive win.

"It wasn't a fluke the first time around. I'm for real," MacDonald (18-7 overall) said in the ring after the fight.

In another featured bout, Keith Jardine lived up to his nickname The Dean of Mean by upsetting popular light-heavyweight Forrest Griffin. The two fighters traded heavy blows and kicks in the first round before Jardine caught Griffin with a huge right uppercut and followed it up with a flurry of blows that saw Griffin crumple.

Jardine thumped the prone Griffin nine more times to the head before referee (Big) John McCarthy stopped the fight at 4:41 of the first round. Jardine improved to 12-3-1 while Griffin fell to 13-4.

The Liddell-Ortiz rematch is expected to be the most lucrative in UFC history, with a live gate expected to top $4 million.

"Tonight was a big night for us," said UFC president Dana White, who said prior to the fight that Liddell and Ortiz were guaranteed record UFC paydays.

Saturday's crowd included Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Kid Rock and Ortiz's girlfriend, porn princess Jenna Jameson.

English light-heavyweight Michael Bisping, winner of Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter, ran his record to 13-0 by surviving a few early rocky moments to down Eric (Ravishing Red) Schafer by TKO at 4:24 of the first round.

In other undercard bouts, heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga looked impressive in stopping Carmelo Marrero via armbar at 3:22 of the first round and welterweight Thiago Alves was equally sharp in knocking out Peru's Tony DeSouza at 1:10 of the second round.

Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami stopped Rory Singer by TKO at 4:03 of the third round, and heavyweight Christian (the Hungarian Nightmare) Wellisch won a bloody decision over Australian Anthony (The Hippo) Perosh.

worked his (butt) off

Was in the Riverside Press as well.