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Tito Ortiz to headline UFC Fight Night card in March

Ortiz takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on March 26 in Seattle

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Justin M. Bowen

Tito Ortiz answers questions during open workouts at Mandalay Bay in preparation for his fight at UFC 106.

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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.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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