SEATTLE — The Ultimate Fighting Championship today confirmed a light heavyweight match-up between Tito Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will headline “UFC Fight Night 24” on March 26 at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash.
“UFC Fight Night 24″ will air LIVE on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Other bouts that have been confirmed by the UFC for this card include Anthony Johnson vs. Dan Hardy in a welterweight match-up, Duane Ludwig vs. Amir Sadollah, also at welterweight, and Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia in a lightweight rematch.
UFC President Dana White commented on the “must-win” situation for Ortiz:
“This is a must-win fight for Tito Ortiz. 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.”
Ortiz (15-8-1) has not won a fight in over four years. Since defeating Ken Shamrock at “UFC – Final Chapter” in Oct. 2006, he has suffered losses to Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin and Matt Hamill. He went to a draw with Rashad Evans at UFC 73 in July 2007.
Ortiz is has given a lot to the UFC over the years, and despite his recent record, has maintained a strong fan base. And because of that, he still has a job. However, the UFC can not carry him forever. White said after Ortiz’s last fight, a decision loss to Hamill last year, that he was done, but decided to give him one more shot.
Nogueira (19-4) is currently ranked by most sites as the number eight or nine top light heavyweight in the world. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 119 in September. Prior to that he had won his first two UFC bouts over Jason Brilz and Luis Arthur Cane Jr. He was on a five fight win streak when he signed with the UFC in 2009.