UFC 133 Presser Highlights: Evans and Ortiz Say They Are New and Improved
By FCF Staff
The Ultimate Fighting Championship held the official pre-fight press conference today in anticipation of Saturday’s UFC 133 card, which will see former light-heavyweight champions Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz square off in the main event.
The bout will mark the second time the two have fought, as Evans and Ortiz battled to a draw at UFC 73 in July, 2007.
Evans had originally been scheduled to face Phil Davis on August 6th, but a knee injury forced the rising contender to withdraw from the bout. Ortiz, who recently tapped out Ryan Bader on July 2nd with a first round, guillotine choke, agreed to take Davis’s spot.
Also in attendance at the presser were upcoming welterweight opponents Rory MacDonald and Mike Pyle, as well as scheduled middleweight foes Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Here were some of the highlights from today’s press conference.
Evans stated that he “would have fought anybody” at UFC 133 and that he was very happy when Ortiz agreed to step up on short notice, before warning the former champion that he’s not the same fighter that he was in 2007.
Ortiz acknowledged that at first he didn’t want to step in on short notice and face Evans, due to his responsibilities with Punishment Athletics and his family, but then changed his mind.
UFC President Dana White complimented Ortiz for stopping Bader in the first round at UFC 1312 and not “squeaking out a win.”
Evans credited his recent training camps and new teammates in Boca Raton, Florida for taking his physical conditioning to a new level. Evans said he sees similarities between his coach Mike Van Arsdale and former trainer Greg Jackson.
White acknowledged that he didn’t think Ortiz would take the Evans bout on short notice, but decided to call him anyways, believes fans appreciate Ortiz’s decision.
When asked if the winner between Evans and Ortiz will receive a title shot, White said Evans will get a title shot provided he wins, and that Ortiz will probably have to “knock off” another couple guys before fighting for the title.
Evans conceded he looked up to Tito Ortiz in their first fight, believes he didn’t perform at his best.
Ortiz believes he’s a much better fighter mentally and physically then when he battled Evans the first time, particularly after having successful surgery and recovered from his injuries.
White reiterated that Evans is the number one contender at light-heavyweight; Ortiz’s win over Bader “put Tito back on the map.”
When asked if the UFC is “more challenging” than the competition Akiyama faced in Japan, the middleweight (who introduced himself as “Sexyama”) acknowledged that the UFC has “excellent competitors.”
Akiyama credited Belfort for being an “excellent and strong fighter” but that he will “fight back.”
Rory MacDonald said he’s used to people overlooking his abilities due to the fact he’s 22 and looks his age, but that “it’s man versus man” when he gets into the Octagon.
Mike Pyle said his loss to Jake Ellenberger “really woke him up” and that his recent successes are due to the changes he made to his training following the loss, including utilizing “The Dolce” diet.
White acknowledged that there is “a lot of hype” surrounding MacDonald but that people will see “how tough he is” when he faces Pyle.
The UFC President White admitted “he loves watching Akiyama” fight”; believes Ortiz “hasn’t been this popular” in years after submitting Bader.
Pyle said he’s “a late bloomer” and that he’s healthier than he’s ever been, when asked why his career has reached a new level at the age of 35. The Xtreme Couture fighter credited MacDonald for being a good fighter but that he doesn’t think the prospect will be able to handle his timing.
Belfort is excited to face Akiyama Saturday and said he trained very hard for the bout, but that he’s not worrying about what the future may hold provided he wins Saturday. While discussing Akiyama’s abilities, Belfort credited the Japanese fighter for his aggressiveness and toughness.
UFC 133 will be hosted by Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center and the main card will be broadcast via pay-per-view. Preliminary bouts will be available for viewing via Facebook and Spike TV.