Oddsmakers seem to think the third time may be the charm for Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz opened as a sizeable betting favorite Thursday over his old rival, Chuck Liddell, in a potential third fight between the UFC Hall of Famers. Despite Ortiz being down 0-2 in his series against Liddell, gambling website Bovada slotted “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” off as a 2-to-1 favorite (-200) to win the trilogy match, with Liddell listed as a +160 underdog.
Liddell, 48, announced Monday on The MMA Hour that he is officially returning to MMA following an eight-year retirement and targeting a November grudge match against Ortiz. Liddell said he is tentatively expecting the fight to be promoted under Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy banner and take place in either Las Vegas or California.
“It’s a real thing,” LIddell said. “They’re working on it.”
Ortiz, 43, and Liddell fought twice before in 2004 and 2006 in a pair of blockbuster meetings that saw Liddell win both matches via knockout.
But despite their history, Ortiz has competed far more recently and regularly than Liddell, which is likely the reason the betting odds opened in his favor. The California native retired from MMA last year following a largely successful 3-1 run under the Bellator umbrella — a run that culminated in a first-round submission of Chael Sonnen.
Liddell, on the other hand, hung up his gloves in 2010 on the heels of a three-fight losing streak that saw him suffer brutal knockout defeats at the hands of Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua, and Rich Franklin.
Liddell said his ultimate goal for his comeback is to win “‘two good warm-up fights” before taking a shot at embattled ex-UFC champion Jon Jones. Liddell cited fellow legend Wanderlei Silva as another potential opponent for his comeback tour.
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