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Is Tito Ortiz Facing A Must Win Situation Against Griffin At UFC 106?

Once it was announced that Tito Ortiz would be gracing the octagon, he stated in a video blog that he wanted a warm up fight before jumping back into the shark tank known as the UFC light heavyweight division. Ortiz's 'warm up' fight was supposed to be UFC hall of famer and former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman. However, Coleman had to pull out of the UFC 106 bout with an injury. Now Tito finds himself facing a perennial top ten light heavyweight and former champion in Forrest Griffin who he narrowly defeated way back at UFC 59 via split decision. So much for that warm up fight. Let's take a look at some interesting notes:

SBN coverage of UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin 2

-Tito Ortiz has been out of action for 18 months

-He's 34 yrs old and coming off of major back surgery

-He hasn't won a bout since defeating Ken Shamrock for the third time in Oct. 2006. If you take Shamrock out of the equation. The last fighter Tito defeated was a young Forrest Griffin.

I have to give Ortiz credit for taking this fight. A lot of guys wouldn't take a year and a half off, have surgery, only to return against someone like Forrest Griffin in his first fight. However, Ortiz needs a legitimate win badly if he wants to see his dreams of being a top light heavyweight come to fruition. With the win in their first match, Ortiz could always play the rubber match card if he were to lose at UFC 106. If he loses it will probably be via decision, which means he was unsuccessful in achieving the take downs he was once famous for. In that case, you can probably turn off the lights like Teddy Pendergrass because take downs are the staple of his offense.

Does Tito have to win this fight at UFC 106, or does he get a freebie because of the surgery and long layoff?