Tito Ortiz. Photo courtesy of Punishment Athletics.
A key matchup between former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and ranked contender Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has been officially announced as the headliner for UFC Fight Night 24, which will serve as the UFC’s first trip to Seattle, WA on March 26.
Ortiz will need a win in order to keep his UFC career alive. Once a longtime holder of the promotion’s 205 lb. title, Ortiz has dropped four out of his last five bouts and hasn’t won a fight since defeating Ken Shamrock twice in a row back in 2006.
Nogueira had a seven-fight win streak snapped at the hands of Ryan Bader at UFC 119 in September. Prior to that, “Little Nog” racked up victories over the likes of Jason Brilz, Luiz Cane and Vladimir Matyushenko.
“This is a must-win fight for Tito Ortiz,” UFC President Dana White said in a press release today. “Everyone knows that Tito and I have had a rocky relationship, but he’s been with us since we started this company and we’re on good terms now. This is the biggest fight of his career. ‘Lil Nog’ is ranked in the top 10 in the world and a win puts Tito back in the mix.”
The UFC also announced a trio of undercard bouts for the event: a welterweight clash between heavy hitters Dan Hardy and Anthony Johnson, “TUF” winner Amir Sadollah facing veteran Duane Ludwig and a rematch of the controversial December featherweight bout between Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia.
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