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Tito Ortiz fills in for Phil Davis at UFC 133

Evans vs. Ortiz II now headlines UFC card in Philadelphia

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Justin M. Bowen

Tito Ortiz celebrates after beating Ryan Bader by submission in their bout at UFC 132 Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Ortiz snapped a near five-year winless streak with the win.

When Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans fought four years ago, their bout ended without resolution.

The judges announced a unanimous draw after Evans and Ortiz battled for three rounds at UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif. Ortiz would have won, but the referee docked him one point for continually holding onto the cage.

They’ll have a chance to come to a more decisive conclusion at UFC 133 August 6 in Philadelphia. Ortiz (16-8-1 MMA, 15-8-1 UFC) will fill in for the injured Phil Davis in the card’s main event.

Ortiz and UFC President Dana White announced the change via twitter Wednesday afternoon.

“I'm an average man with a monster heart,” Ortiz said. “UFC asked me for my help and I'm here for them. Just want to show my true character by stepping up.”

The announcement caps a remarkable turnaround for Ortiz in less than a month. White told Ortiz, who hadn’t won a fight since 2006, before UFC 132 two weeks ago that he had to beat Ryan Bader to keep his job with the organization.

Ortiz, a 5-to-1 underdog in the bout, submitted Bader for the victory less than two minutes into the first round at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Ortiz will enter the matchup with Evans, who rightfully owned the light heavyweight top contender spot until an injury forced Jon Jones out of their planned fight, as a similarly high-priced long shot.

Evans (15-1-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC) is expected to receive the next 205-pound title shot if he beats Ortiz. If the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” could pull off another stunner, the 36-year old future Hall of Famer could once again establish himself at the top of the division.

Ortiz held the UFC light heavyweight belt from 1999-2003. He initially turned down the Evans fight Tuesday, citing personal issues and the quick turnaround. But it took less than 24 hours for Ortiz to change course.

“Only for the UFC,” he posted to twitter.

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

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