Very Detailed UFC 61 Preview, Shamrock-Ortiz II, & More

Very Detailed UFC 61 Preview, Shamrock-Ortiz II, & More
UFC 61 "Bitter Rivals" Preview Column July 7, 2006


UFC 61, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For most normal people, it's "Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock II" but this is the show headlined by the Heavyweight title rubber match between current champion Tim Sylvia and former champion Andrei Arlovski. It's all the same though, if they put Shamrock-Ortiz on top and had Sylvia-Arlovski in the middle, everyone writing about this event would b---h about UFC being too much like pro wrestling and not worrying enough about being a real sport for putting a money-match on top of a legit title match. What makes something like pro wrestling anyway? Trying to do good business, trying to make money? How could they!

Anyways, does anyone remember UFC 48? Ken Shamrock and Kimo headlined with Sylvia challenging Frank Mir for the vacant Heavyweight title in the middle of the card. Everyone whined and b---hed, and of course the pro wrestling comparison stuck its' ugly head into the argument. Little side bar, the Heavyweight title never seemed less important at this point as it was vacant going into the event, the outcome was controversial (at least it was live) and it was marketed under a match that had literally no value other than a winable fight for Ken Shamrock in the UFC, something UFC fans hadn't seen in 8 years prior to that point. So we can close the book on the mystery of what's really important in the fight game. A side bar to that side bar - how much did it suck that Sylvia stood there with a broken arm pretending like nothing happened to save face? It took away from Mir's moment, and unless Mir does something big against Dan Christison at this event coming up (more on that below) that was probably Mir's career highlight. A full house boo'ing him like crazy for thinking, thanks to Sylvia, that the entire thing ended because the referee made a mistake.

Ok, now that we've settled that, we can go ahead and speak the truth. It's ok, no one is watching. Just you and me here for this one. So, we've got the big Shamrock-Ortiz event coming up in under 24 hours, and not only that but they booked some Heavyweight title match too. You might've heard of the rivalry before, big Russian dude, big cocky American. Sylvia and Arlovski are gonna have a cage locked behind them and within five minutes, as they've done twice before, they will show everyone how to create a roller coaster of emotions in a fight that doesn't get past one round. If there's one safe bet aside from Ortiz pummeling Shamrock again, even though everyone (myself obviously included) will be digging into their August budget to order the 29th (random funny number alert) pay-per view of July because of that fight and that fight alone, it's that no matter who wins - Arlovski/Sylvia won't be going past one round.

So, what have we learned in this shameless attempt at a clever intro into the typical fight-by-fight breakdown of the PPV line-up? It's that the two money-matches don't have a lot of built-in suspense as the clock ticks and the event gets closer. Does it matter? No. A definitive "no" at that. This will still be one of the biggest money-events in the history of the company. It doesn't matter that in both fights there isn't a whole lot at stake in terms of unpredictability. Ortiz is going to blast Shamrock out of the water, and Arlovski or Sylvia will be able to call themselves "the" champion while everyone else questions who really is the superior Heavyweight. If anything unexpected happens, s--t - we can do it again in 2007 and make some more money! Alright, now that we've got that out of the way. Let's roll our sleeves up and get into this thing here.

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