Tito has had a brilliant career fighting nearly every one of his bouts for the UFC. Once regarded as a top dog in mixed martial arts, he has compiled a respectable 25-8-1 record. It took him five years to clinch his 25th victory, however. His five consecutive no-win decisions did not come against slouches. Chuck Liddell, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, and Matt Hammill are among the names Tito was unable to pull off wins against in a span of five years. If you weren’t keeping tabs, that’s four one-time titleholders and one of Tito’s understudies. He ended that losing streak just last month against fast rising LHW contender Ryan Bader. I was as surprised as anyone at how quickly the Huntington Beach Bad Boy disposed of the young Bader.
Now just over one month later, Tito has decided to step up and fill in for Phil Davis against Rashad Evans at UFC 133. You have to respect Tito for his willingness to fill the void, but I believe it was a poor career decision. We saw Rick Story make the same move just months ago. His plan backfired. I would have liked to see Tito get a full camp in, regroup, sort his personal life out, and mentally prepare for his next fight. Rashad hasn’t fought in over a year, will be fresher, and has looked better in every fight since his loss to Machida. Vegas has Tito at +350 and Rashad at -400. I almost think that they were too generous to Tito. Way too much working against him in this one. I’m fully expecting Rashad to have his hand raised at the end of the night.
With this being said, will a loss for Tito ultimately mean the end of this career in the UFC and/or MMA? He has had more highs and lows than anyone in the fight game. Has 14 years in the UFC been enough and will he finally hang them up after Rashad beats him tonight? Or will he prove resilient once again and give it another go at 36 years old?