SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Huntington Beach Bad Boy was the darling of the ARCO Arena crowd Friday at the weigh-in for Saturday's UFC 73 card.
Tito Ortiz, the former champion who meets unbeaten Rashad Evans in a heavily hyped non-title light heavyweight bout, received the strongest reaction from the crowd of around 1,000 mixed martial arts fans.
Ortiz, who looked shredded as he weighed 205½ pounds, was greeted with a mixed chorus of cheers and boos. Evans, who got a significantly smaller reaction, weighed 204.
The fighters have traded trash talk since the bout was signed in March and it was no different as they got off the scale on Friday. They went nose-to-nose for about 20 seconds before UFC president Dana White, clearly anxious that something would occur, squeezed between them and separated them.
"I'm an emotional fighter and that's the way I fight," Ortiz said. "I need something to fuel me and with Rashad Evans, he fuels it. He talks (so much)."
Ortiz held the UFC light heavyweight title from April 14, 2000, when he defeated Wanderlei Silva, until he lost it to Randy Couture on Sept. 26, 2003. His five consecutive defenses are tied for the UFC record with Matt Hughes, who had five successful defenses in his first of two title reigns.
Ortiz said he believes one of the differences between he and Evans is the level of competition they've faced. Evans (15-0) was the heavyweight winner on Season Two of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC's reality show on Spike TV.
His most notable wins were over Keith Jardine and Stephan Bonnar. "The level of fighters he's fought, I don't see them as that good," Ortiz (16-5) said. "But you still have to get into the Octagon and fight and win, and he's been doing that. I've been fighting a lot higher level of fighters, like (Chuck) Liddell, Couture, (Vitor) Belfort."
All fighters on the card made weight. Perhaps the most notable thing to arise from the weigh-in was that Nate Marquardt (25-6-2), who challenges Anderson Silva (18-4) for the middleweight title, weighed in at 182½, 2½ pounds lower than the division limit of 185.
It is unusual for a fighter in a title fight to weigh in that much under the limit. Silva weighed 184½.
In the lightweight title fight, champion Sean Sherk (30-2-1) and Hermes Franca (18-5) each weighed 154½.
The remainder of the weigh-in results (All matches three rounds; fighters are allowed up to one pound over the weight limit): Kenny Florian, 155½, vs. Alvin Robinson, 156, in a lightweight bout.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, 240½, vs. Heath Herring, 259, in a heavyweight bout.
Stephan Bonnar, 204½, vs. Mike Nickels, 205½, in a light heavyweight bout.
Diego Saraiva, 155, vs. Jorge Gurgel, 155 , in a three-round lightweight bout.
Jason Gilliam, 171, vs. Chris Lytle, 169 , in a three-round welterweight bout.
Mark Bocek, 154 , vs. Frankie Edgar, 154 , in a three-round lightweight bout.