June 6, 2003- The premier mixed martial arts event in the world is back in blistering Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center for UFC 43: Meltdown. In the main event, Light Heavyweight ... See full summary »
Tito Ortiz came out of nowhere to capture the first light-heavyweight championship in the UFC, a title he would secure for at least four years until running into an aging Randy Couture. Ken Shamrock was a submission fighter all the way from UFC 1, he made a name for himself winning several "superfights" in the company before returning to professional wrestling at a possible moment in his career when he was most deadly. During his departure Tito had effectively dispatched nearly every pro from Kens "lions den" team that was in his weight class. One of the famed matches was against Guy Mezger, they had fought before and Mezger had pulled out a late victory, not before taking some elbows. Now in this fight Ortiz was looking to put a stamp on his victory, by making a t-shirt with the slogan "gay mezger is my bitch" which he used to taunt pretty much the whole lions den team after the fight. This did not fit well with Shamrock who got so angry he stopped wrasslin and got back into the octagon, which turned out to be a horrible idea. The first of their three encounters came at UFC 40, a card that still stands out as one of the best of all time, from undercard to main event it was loaded like a machine gun with compelling finishes. The hype was real, the hate was palpable, it was like Woodstock 99! Minus the rapes, that is if you don't count how (figuratively speaking) raped Shamrock got. Ortiz never looked so deadly, it was like watching a refrigerator get dropped on an ant. Shamrock was too old, to damaged from earlier years of fighting, and probably coming down from some serious steroids. Shamrock got one punch off, and it was awesome, but not nearly enough as he played human punching bag while Ortiz ripped through him with hard kicks, knees and elbows, everything was landing with authority. Ortiz walked away with a victory, and his last title defense as the next ten years would prove a new generation was brooding and his "ground and pound" style slightly busted. Shamrock didn't recover too well either, he spent the next decade mostly on the losing end of one-sided fights with virtual nobody's. Their both legends and they did a lot to propel the sport and gain new fans. Their PPV's were some of the biggest the company had seen at the time, and tonight, Ortiz is still fighting.
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