WWE alum Alberto Del Rio returns to MMA, and his opponent is a legend of the octagon

Jim Varsallone

Combate Americas’ largest-scale live MMA event and its first pay-per-view will be a ”Winner Take All” showdown between UFC legend Tito Ortiz and WWE alum Alberto Del Rio (aka Alberto El Patrón Rodriguez) on Saturday from Payne Arena at the United States-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas.

If Ortiz emerges victorious, he will take physical possession of Del Rio’s WWE title belt. If Del Rio wins, however, he will get Ortiz’s UFC belt he obtained during his reigning days.

The contest is a much-hyped 210-pound catchweight battle.

In an interview I conducted with Del Rio on Monday at the Univision and TUDN studios in Doral, he discussed his MMA return, fighting Ortiz, Combate Americas MMA, training for the fight, and a possible rematch with Ortiz in a wrestling ring.

Also, Del Rio talked about Max Bretos, AXS TV, WWE, CM Punk, Sexy Star, ring gear for the fight, pro wrestling and will his personal ring announcer from his WWE days Ricardo Rodriguez be introducing him at the fight.

Del Rio, who became an American citizen last year and lives in San Antonio, Texas, was born and raised in Mexico. Ortiz is Mexican American, too, born in Huntington Beach, California.

It has been a while, but MMA is not new to Del Rio. He fought MMA from 2001 to 10, amassing a 9-5 mark, while competing for Deep and Pride in Japan and for a few groups in Mexico. Noting this will be his only fight (win, lose or draw) in his return, he has been training MMA rigorously in Arizona.

During his illustrious career in the ring, Del Rio, 42, has wrestled for AAA, CMLL, Lucha Underground, Pro Wrestling Zero1, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, WWC and WWE.

Del Rio continues to wrestle, and he and fellow wrestler Chavo Guerrero Jr. recently formed their own promotion, Nación Lucha Libre in Mexico.

His father is legendary Mexican wrestler Dos Caras, and his uncles are WWE Hall of Famer Mil Mascaras and Sicodelico. His younger brother is NXT alum Memo Montenegro.

The tagline for this fight is “What Side Are You On?,” an unprecedented theme encouraging fans from two different combat sports — MMA and professional wrestling — to choose Tito’s or Alberto’s side.

Ortiz is a UFC Hall of Famer, former UFC light heavyweight champion and MMA pioneer.

Along with fighting MMA for Pride, Del Rio was a multiple-time champion in WWE and former Pan American Games Greco Roman wrestling medalist.

Combate Americas, the world’s premier Hispanic MMA sports and media franchise, inked this matchup of greats.

About Combate Americas

Combate Americas is disrupting the industry, and redefining MMA as “Mucha Más Acción” — faster-paced fights and more finishes than any other MMA sports franchise in the world.

Combate Americas was created as a platform to celebrate Hispanic culture and to empower and offer unprecedented opportunity to young, Hispanic athletes around the world.

Combate Americas live television programming airs regularly on both broadcast and cable television platforms – Univision and TUDN in Spanish and, beginning in December, on AXS TV in English.

More about Alberto Del Rio

Born in San Luis Potosi, SLP, Mexico, into one of the most famous Lucha Libre family dynasties, Del Rio has blazed a trail to superstardom in his own manner, establishing himself as a force in three different combat sports — Greco Roman wrestling, professional wrestling and MMA.

Del Rio, 42, is the only athlete in history to win two of WWE’s most coveted events — the “Royal Rumble” and the “Money in the Bank” ladder match — in the same year (2011).

Competing under his Lucha Libre name, “Dos Caras, Jr.” and training under former UFC and Vale Tudo champion Marco Ruas, Del Rio crossed over into the world of MMA, where he fought for the former No.1 MMA franchise in the world, PRIDE, and earned all of his career victories by way of (T)KO or submission.

Del Rio announced in October 2019 that he returned to MMA training and was intent on competing for Combate Americas.

He has since relocated to Glendale, Arizona, the MMA training camp home of former UFC star and fellow Mexican American Javier “Chunty Boy” Torres. Del Rio has also been preparing for his MMA return with former Ortiz opponent Ryan Bader and former UFC star and NCAA Division I All-American wrestler C.B. Dollaway, among others.

About Tito Ortiz

One of the biggest pay-per-view television draws in MMA history, Ortiz (20-12-1) of Huntington Beach, California, has produced some of the sport’s most memorable moments while facing off with nearly every major rival in his weight class and defeating the likes of Ryan Bader, Ken Shamrock, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.

Ortiz’s status in the sport has garnered him starring roles in three different hit reality television shows “The Celebrity Apprentice” hosted by Donald Trump and two different seasons of the UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Ortiz, 44, known as the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, is coming off a first-round knockout of fellow UFC Hall of Famer and former world champion Chuck Liddell in Los Angeles in November 2019.

Also on the card

Pro wrestler, boxer and MMA fighter Sexy Star Dulce Garcia will also be on the Combate Americas MMA card on Dec. 7.

As Sexy Star, she is an international pro wrestling standout, competing for AAA, The Crash, Shimmer and Lucha Underground.

In boxing, she is 5-0. In MMA, she is 1-0, looking to better that mark.

A featured women’s 118-pound catchweight contest on Dec. 7, Sexy Star Dulce Garcia will fight Anali Lopez Hernandez (0-0), who replaces injured Marisol Ruelas (1-2).

Plus, in a Combate Americas world strawweight (115 pounds) championship battle, undefeated knockout artist Melissa “Super Mely” Martinez (6-0) faces ferocious star Desiree “Dirty Dez” Yanez (5-1).

Levy “El Negro” Marroquin (12-3) vs. Enrique “Baby Bull” Gonzalez (8-3) at featherweight.

Former World Champion Dani Barez (11-4) collides with Joao Camilo (6-3), who replaces injured Joby Sanchez (13-5) at flyweight.

Gaston “Tonga” Reyno (8-2, 2 NC) vs. Rey “The Warrior” Trujillo (24-27), who replaces injured Angel “Tito” Cruz (6-4) in a 150-pound catchweight bout.

And more.

For info, visit https://www.combateamericas.com/en.

Combate Americas makes its AXS TV debut (in English) on Friday, Dec. 13.

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