In the end, after all the bluster, Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar looked like a pair of fighters a couple years removed from their first retirement.
The difference between the two UFC Hall of Famers is that despite whatever limitations Ortiz had in the cage, he appeared to have taken his training seriously, and gave all of what he had left at Bellator 131 on Saturday night. Bonnar looked like he never should have entertained the thought of coming out of retirement.
While the fight seemed in slow motion, Ortiz moved forward, landed punches, scored takedowns, outwrestled Bonnar and was in control from bell to bell. Ortiz won on a split decision, getting two 30-27 scores, while one astounding score at the Valley View Casino Center went 29-28 in Bonnar’s direction.
And while the fight obviously isn’t going down as a classic, the Huntington Beach, Calif. native was the SoCal hometown favorite, and the crowd was kind, cheering Ortiz throughout.
“It’s all about getting the rust out,” said Ortiz (18-11-1). “I got some angles in, got the ring time in. “I have a little bit of respect that Bonnar came to fight, but that’s it. Everyone saw his character you saw what type of person he is.”
Bonnar (15-9) talked a huge game coming into the fight, trashing Ortiz’s personal life and surrounding himself with Ortiz’s former coaches and teammates. But he able to remotely back up his bluster in his first fight in two years, ending up battered and bloodied, and he knew it.
“It really wasn’t all it was cracked up in my head to be,” said Bonnar. “In my deluded head, I thought it would be fun to get my head cracked open, but in reality it sucked.”
Check out the full Bellator 131 results below.
Tito Ortiz def. Stephan Bonnar via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Will Brooks def. Michael Chandler via fourth-round TKO (3:48)
Joe Schilling def. Melvin Manhoef via second-round KO (0:32)
Mike Richman def. Nam Phan via first-round TKO (0:46)
King Mo Lawal def. Joe Vedepo via third-round TKO (0:39)
Joao Faria def. Ian Butler via submission (arm-triangle choke) (R3, 1:58)
A.J. Matthews def. Kyle Bolt via first-round KO (1:39)
Jonathan Santa Maria def. Ron Henderson via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Jordan Bailey def. Alex Higley via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:27 of round one.
Nick Garcia def. Matthew Ramirez via submission (guillotine choke) at 0;56 of round two.
Andy Murad def. Bubba Pugh via split decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Rolando Perez vs. Mark Vorgeas, split draw (29-27 Voregas; 30-26 Perez 28-28).