Recently, Bas Rutten appeared as a guest on Nick Kalikas’ MMA Oddsbreaker show, and while discussing the upcoming UFC bout between Rogerio Noguiera and Tito Ortiz, Rutten mentioned Ortiz’ had a very underrated ground game. Additionally, if you look back, I recently blogged about how I believe Rumina Sato may have been the first fighter in MMA termed the ‘Best pound for pound’ fighter in the world. They faced each other at the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships in 2000, so I decided to have a look back.
This bout occurred in the Absolute division, and Ortiz is in the neighborhood of 70 pounds heavier. If I am not mistaken, this is the second time that Sato competed outside of Japan, so he was every bit the scary mystery submission wonder kid by reputation for this fight. He fought in Superbrawl in Hawaii against Yves Edwards a few months before and won in under one minute.
Go and watch the match, it is on YOUTUBE in it’s entirety. The truth is that Bas is right, Ortiz holds his own. Granted he is a bit cautious, but against Sato you have to be.
The ground game is meant to show how a highly skilled little man can take out a big man. This is easier if the big man is unskilled, but becomes harder and harder to do as the big man’s skill catches up.
Ortiz does a great job with Sato, using his wrestling base to dictate the pace of the match and control where it would occur. Sato does pull off a great leg attack in the early going but Ortiz is able to stay safe. After that, you can see Ortiz’ confidence grow, and he is able to work to north south position and dominant control. What happens at the end is a tribute to Tito Ortiz.
It is a shame that the UFC has concentrated so much on the slugging it out aspect of the game, that a fighter like Tito Ortiz, who actually has the skills to work and finish on the ground, doesn’t use them. Until his recent guillotine of Ryan Bader, Ortiz had not won a match by submission in the UFC since December of 2000, when he used a neck crank to submit Yuki Kondo.
So Tito, here is the challenge. Submit l’il Nog. He is supposedly a submission expert, and he has exactly one sub in the last six years. Show em what you got, Tito!