We figured the days of Tito Ortiz matching up against high-profile opponents in mixed martial arts would be over, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. While his latest opponent is high profile, it doesn’t exactly boost is reputation in MMA entirely. It was announced on Tuesday that the former UFC light heavyweight champion is set to square off against former WWE champion Alberto Del Rio in his debut fight for the Combate Americas promotion.
Ortiz (20-12) recently exited a brief retirement period to battle longtime nemesis Chuck Liddell in an attempt to launch boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy MMA promotion off the ground. That launch attempt failed miserably, though Ortiz finally earned his long-awaited victory over a visibly out-dated Liddell via first-round TKO. This past April, it was formally announced that Ortiz had signed a multi-fight deal with the Mexican-based Combate Americas as the 44-year-old chooses to continue his MMA career.
Del Rio (9-5), a former multi-time world champion in WWE where he enjoyed two stints with the company, has merely dabbled in MMA throughout this career prior to becoming a staple in the biggest pro wrestling promotion in the world. He competed for various MMA promotions — under his luchador mask — as he was making a name for himself in pro wrestling under the Dos Caras Jr. moniker, which was a tribute to his father who also a pro wrestler. Del Rio hasn’t competed in an MMA bout since February 2010, and his career in the sport is, unfortunately for him, highlighted by a 46-second loss to the legendary Mirko Cro Cop in October 2003 during the Pride: Bushido 1 event in Japan.
Del Rio was actually appointed president of the Combate Americas promotion in 2016, though he held no power in the figurehead role. He cut ties with the responsibilities in 2017.
No date or location has been announced for this rather unique showdown.
By Jack Crosby
Sources from: CBS Sports