Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 6 p.m.
Tito Ortiz has received at least one more chance to save his fledging UFC career.
Ortiz, the former light heavyweight champion, will fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a headlining bout at a UFC Fight Night card on March 26 at Key Arena in Seattle. UFC officially announced the event through a press release Wednesday.
“I’m ready to get back in there and kick some ass,” Ortiz said in a statement. “Lil Nog’ is one of the best fighters in the world. He’s dangerous on the feet and on the ground; that’s why you won’t hear me talking any smack.”
Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since October 2006 when he beat Ken Shamrock. He has lost four of five since, including three straight, and fought Rashad Evans to a draw.
Ortiz (16-8-1) wasn’t given an easy assignment with Nogueira (19-4), the twin brother of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He’s gone 2-1 since joining the UFC, dropping his last fight to Ryan Bader at UFC 119.
“Tito Ortiz is a former champion and I’m excited to get the chance to fight him in the Main Event in Seattle,” Nogueira said. “I’m training hard and expecting a difficult fight. Tito's ground and pound is really good and he is a talented athlete.”
Two welterweight fights will precede the Main Event. Anthony Johnson (8-3) and Dan Hardy (23-8) will face off, while former “The Ultimate Fighter” champion Amir Sadollah (5-2) will take on Duane Ludwig (28-11).
But it’s Ortiz who will have the most on the line, as a defeat would likely mark the end of his UFC career.
"This is a must-win fight for Tito Ortiz," UFC President Dana White said. "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.”