MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of Combate Hidalgo, a three-round catchweight (210lbs) bout between Tito Ortiz and Alberto Del Rio. The event takes place on Saturday, December 7 at Payne Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.
Tito Ortiz (-1100)
Ortiz (20-12-1) is the former UFC light heavyweight champion and a legend of MMA. The 44-year-old American has been competing in professional MMA for 22 years and is still winning fights. He is currently riding a two-fight win streak that includes stoppage victories over Chuck Liddell and Chael Sonnen in his last two bouts. Some of Ortiz’ other notable victories include Ryan Bader, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Ken Shamrock and Wanderlei Silva. Between 2006 and 2012 Ortiz struggled badly with a 1-7-1 record in the UFC and was cut. But he signed with Bellator went 3-1 there and then won another fight in Golden Boy MMA. Though Ortiz is getting up there in age, he still possesses his trademark wrestling game and on the ground, he has heavy ground and pound and submission skills. He also showed some power on the feet against Liddell. He might not be a world-beater anymore, but Ortiz is still getting his hand raised. Considering his pedigree and experience it’s no surprise to see him as a massive betting favorite here over his rival Del Rio.
Alberto Del Rio (+700)
Del Rio (9-5) is the former WWE champion. The 42-year-old Mexican competed in MMA between 2001 and 2010 and even fought Mirko Cro Cop in PRIDE back in 2003. Since 2010 he has focused exclusively on his professional wrestling career and did extremely well for himself, but now he’s back and wants to challenge himself in the mixed martial arts cage. Del Rio does come from an amateur wrestling background and in his MMA career he has actually won seven wins by submission, though his striking questions are highly questionable at this point. The fact he hasn’t fought in MMA in nearly a decade and is going up against a legend like Ortiz doesn’t bode well for him.
Fight Breakdown: Some are scoffing at this matchup but I actually think it’s going to be pretty fun. Both Ortiz and Del Rio have done a good job of selling the fight and now it’s up to both fighters to put on a show for the fans. As the odds suggest, this matchup heavily favors Ortiz. He has far more experience in MMA and has fought a much higher level of competition for a longer period of time. Despite being the older fighter, Ortiz has actually looked pretty good as of late, whereas Del Rio hasn’t fought in MMA in almost 10 years. Even though Del Rio comes from a wrestling background, I see Ortiz being able to land takedowns whenever he wants and once the fight is on the mat, Ortiz is going to be at a huge advantage as long as he’s in top position. I see Ortiz getting the fight to the ground and battering Del Rio with ground and pound en route to a TKO victory at some point within the scheduled three rounds.
Prediction: Tito Ortiz wins via TKO