“They all kind of stand out for different reasons. But I’d say my physical, the greatest physical application of martial arts I’ve ever applied, was against Tito Ortiz just because he was so big,” Shamrock told MMAWeekly.com. “It took everything I had in my arsenal of martial arts skills to beat him.
“I’ve had other fights that… fighting Phil Baroni with a blown out knee was like the hardest mental thing I’ve ever done, but physically battling with Tito was just retardedly hard.”
Cage Side Seats comments on Shamrock vs. Ortiz at UFC 22:
Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz is widely considered one of the greatest fights in UFC history. It’s sad that the UFC refuses to acknowledge it’s significance due to petty issues with Shamrock. This fight was truly his biggest moment. Ortiz was coming off a couple of convincing wins over Shamrock’s former teammates in Guy Mezger and Jerry Bohlander. Tito was much bigger than Frank and because of his massive size advantage was considered a favorite despite Shamrock holding the title.
During the fight, Ortiz repeatedly took Shamrock down and worked from inside his guard. Ortiz used his size advantage to score plenty with his strong wrestling and top control but by the 4th round he was starting to slow down. Most of the round was spent with Ortiz in Shamrock’s guard after a takedown. With about a minute left in the round Shamrock reversed him and got back to his feet. After an exciting exchange that Shamrock was clearly getting the best of, Ortiz shot in for another takedown. Shamrock tried to lock on a guillotine but couldn’t quite complete it. He stood up with Tito grabbing at his leg and delivered a few hammerfists to the side of Tito’s head and Ortiz tapped with 10 seconds remaining in the round.
As I wrote about Shamrock vs. Ortiz at UFC 22 in 2007:
Frank’s glory years reached a fitting climax when he used his superior conditioning and ring generalship to wear out Tito. Tito had thrived on beating smaller opponents by getting the take down and then punishing them when they tried to fight to their feet. Frank refused to play that game. Frank conceded the takedown, went to guard and when Tito tired in the late rounds, Frank exploded to his feet and put the hurt on.
Frank was also winning the mental battle at UFC 22 by trash talking Tito throughout the fight. While he held Tito inside his guard throughout the first three rounds Frank taunted and baited Tito with lines like “You better finish me quick boy” “Is that all you got?” “I heard you hit hard, you don’t” “You’re getting tired, Tito” “Hope you’re having fun, I’m coming for you next round” etc etc.
It’s really impossible to imagine this fight happening today, the best analogy I can come up with is to imagine Georges St Pierre fighting Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in a five round fight and not only surviving, but coming back to win.
Watch the UFC 22 battle here. It’s a little slow going in the early rounds, I’d watch the first round then fast forward to the third and fourth.
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