Two UFC legends will meet in the boxing ring as former champions Tito Ortiz and Anderson Silva meet in an eight round match on the undercard of De La Hoya vs Belfort for Triller Fight Club.
— Combate Global (@combateglobal) March 25, 2020
No one can say that Tito Ortiz is not a businessman. During his heyday in the UFC, the former light heavyweight champion was famous for embracing a pro-wrestling persona that put him over with the fans and led to then record-setting events against Chuck Liddell. Outside the cage, he has been a part of everything from movies, reality television, and a recently completed run in politics. Though his days of fighting the best of the best are behind him, he is one of the few MMA stars whose popularity and athletic ability has allowed him to go on a retirement tour of sorts. He has headlined pay-per-view shows for both Golden Boy MMA and Combate Americas, and Saturday will once again see him be a featured attraction.
“The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is arguably facing the toughest challenges of any of the night’s competitors. He already conceded a significant amount of his purse by failing to meet the contracted weight of 195 pounds, though he gave hints that he was be ready to do so rather than risk health to reach a weight he has not cut to in over 20 years. Secondly, a career grappler who used his hands primarily to set up his wrestling, Ortiz is without his best weapon as he takes on one of the greatest strikers in combat sports history.
— FITE (@FiteTV) June 20, 2021
While the nature of 2020 led to Anderson Silva having an unceremonious exit from the UFC and MMA, “The Spider” found the reception he deserved this past June. On a card fittingly titled “Tribute to the Kings,” Silva competed in a boxing match against lifelong boxer Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. At his age and at a deficit of pure boxing experience, Silva was expected to have his hands full. Instead, Silva had a clock turning performance that saw him route the former champion and earn a celebrated victory. It would have been a fitting end to his career if he had chose, but the combat sports world immediately called to see him compete again with rumors of a bout with Logan Paul being thrown around following the bout.
Ortiz called out Silva for asking the bout to take place at 195 pounds, but it is a decision that most think was more telling of a fear that his camp may have. Despite the larger gloves, the fact is that Silva’s durability has been in question in recent years. At 46 years old, he is actually a few months younger than Ortiz. However, most will concede that Silva has taken far more damage in recent years than his upcoming foe. Ortiz may have had a tough weight cut, but it is expected that Silva will be the one more likely to be unable to withstand damage come fight night.
Ortiz will have the advantage that Triller’s boxing ring is exceptionally smaller than the standard size. Triller does this on purpose so that fighters will have less room to move and are forced to engage more, thus leading to more action. Silva will not have the same freedom to get in-and-out with his movement and thus will face the challenge of throwing with more volume while keeping up an impeccable defense. For Ortiz, he should look to use his physicality to keep Silva against the ropes where he can unload with power punches to wear down “The Spider.”
Intense staredown between Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz ahead of Saturday's boxing clash. 👀
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) September 10, 2021
The winner of the bout is likely to be in the conversation for a battle with one 2021’s most controversial pugilists: Jake or Logan Paul. The age of both Silva and Ortiz will make them a favorable choice for the brothers, and their larger stature will make for a more marketable match-up after the public has seen them face noticeably smaller opponents in their last several outings.