UFC 148 card taking shape with Ortiz-Griffin III, Franklin-Le, and Bisping-Boetsch
Best MMA card of 2012?
While UFC 146's all-heavyweight main card on May 26 looks to be the biggest MMA pay-per-view of the year (literally), UFC 148 isn't that far behind.
UFC.com confirms Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin III in what is heavily-rumored to be Ortiz's final MMA bout--and the final fight on his UFC contract. With money in the bank, a successful gym and apparel brand, on top of being a father that just turned 37, that looks to be a safe bet. Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC) defeated the then-unproven Griffin (18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) at UFC 59 in 2006 via split decision. It was in that fight Griffin showed that he could hang in the Octagon with the upper tier of the light heavyweight division. it took a couple of years, but Griffin later became light heavyweight champion in 2008.
Griffin eventually avenged his loss to Ortiz, ironically defeating him by split decision at UFC 106 in 2009.
Both fighters are coming off of losses. Griffin had a lackluster unanimous decision win over Rich Franklin at UFC 126 in 2011, followed by a TKO loss in a rematch against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua last August in Brazil. After Ortiz's improbable upset win over Ryan Bader last July, he lost to Rashad Evans a month later via TKO and most recently, suffered the same fate in a loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira this past December.
Another confirmed big fight on the card features the new king of comebacks (after his wild come-from-behind TKO win last month) Tim Boetsch (15-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) takes on Michael Bisping (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) in a fight that could determine the next challenger for the UFC middleweight title, following the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen rematch. Boetsch defeated Yushin Okami via TKO last month at UFC 144 in Japan. He was down two rounds going into the third, but Okami found out why they called Boetsch "The Barbarian" the hard way.
Bisping may have lost his last fight to Chael Sonnen in January, but even UFC President Dana White could have seen the unanimous decision going the other way. With his impressive performance despite the loss, Boetsch is Bisping's only obstacle in the way of a title shot. Well, depending where returning contender Mark Munoz fits in when he returns from his injury.
Also added to the card is a matchup between a former UFC middleweight champion and former Strikeforce middleweight champion. Rich Franklin (28-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) will return to the Octagon for the first time in over a year to fight Strikeforce legend Cung Le (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC). The last time Le fought was in his UFC debut against Wanderlei Silva last November, in a wild bout that saw him lose via TKO--but also receive Fight of The Night honors.
Rounding out the confirmed portion of UFC 148 is one of the bantamweight division's most promising fighters, Renan Barao (28-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) taking on veteran Jeff Hougland (10-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC). With an impressive win, Barao could earn a title shot against the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III.
Keep in mind, Cruz-Faber III has been rumored to headline the UFC 148 card, but as of right now, that has not been confirmed by the UFC.
The UFC Fan Expo is also set to take place during UFC 148 weekend in Las Vegas.
Current UFC 148 card for July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas:
Bantamweight Championship: Dominick Cruz (C) vs. Urijah Faber (Rumored--not confirmed)