Thursday, November 19, 2009

UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin Picks

Is Griffin out, can Ortiz make it back in?

UFC Picks: Takedown defence and the jab. Those should prove to be Forrest Griffin's best chances of success against Tito Ortiz this Saturday at UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin II.

While Griffin is usually the underdog, this time Ortiz is coming in at +120 to Griffin's -150 over at online sportsbooks.

Why the advantage to Griffin? It might be Ortiz's recent 0-2-1 showing for his last three fights. It might even be his lack of finishing against Machida that could still be lingering and giving the advantage to Griffin because of his decent boxing skill, height and reach advantage, but let's not bring up Griffin's loss to Silva though...

Well now that it's been said, Griffin's loss to Silva has makes this as much a fight for relevance for Griffin as it is for Ortiz. Both of these seasoned veterans want to remain in the running in the light heavyweight division. They are both former UFC LHW Champions and they have already faced each other the past. Ortiz took the first match-up via split decision at UFC 59 in April 2006. While some may not be overly excited to see these two face off again, each one of these fighters needs this win to stay in the spotlight.

When the spotlight was on Ortiz, he was definitely exciting to watch when he took opponents down and ground them into the mat. While many other fighters have developed their wrestling abilities and takedown defense, Ortiz has seemingly failed to develop his stand-up game. To me, this leaves Ortiz as a star of yesterday and a faint hope for today. I hope Ortiz has developed his hands in the last year. Quite frankly, if it's more of the same old, I've seen it before and often enough that I'd want to see it from someone else. According to Tito, he's more than he ever was and he's more than in top form. In fact, he's going to give us the fight of the year. I'd settle for something new and exciting even if it wasn't fight of the year.

That's a lot to say against one of the top wrestlers in the sport, but Ortiz's hiatus was a bit of fresh air for me. If he's coming back to reign like he says he is, I for one have high expectations.

I hold those expectations for Griffin as well. Admittedly, Griffin's boxing is not the best, but it is good and at times has served him well. He could out-box Ortiz, but Ortiz is no marshmallow. He can take a few good shots, and Griffin hasn't demonstrated the knock out power to put Ortiz down early or decisively, and Griffin's never been famous for his power. So, that leads me to think that Griffin will have to out point him to win. If he wants to achieve this, he has to stay on his feet and keep Ortiz from taking him down. This may work some of the time, but in the end, I think Ortiz's attempts will start to wear Griffin down and eventually overwhelm him. I expect Ortiz will get his takedown and end up causing damage from the top position.

There, I've just talked myself into rooting for Ortiz. How does he make me do that?

I'm going with Ortiz, the underdog. Help us all...

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