Tito Ortiz & Forrest Griffin At UFC 106

The search for Mark Coleman’s replacement is over.

Kevin Iole is reporting that Forrest Griffin has agreed to step in and take on Tito Ortiz in the UFC 106 co-main event.

Tito Ortiz will face a stern test in his first match in the Ultimate Fighting Championship since undergoing back surgery Oct. 6, 2008, when he takes on Forrest Griffin at UFC 106 on Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Ortiz, who last fought at UFC 84 on May 24, 2008, when he lost a decision to Lyoto Machida, had been slated to face Mark Coleman. But Coleman had to withdraw from the bout Monday after suffering a second-degree tear of the medial collateral ligament in his knee.

The UFC had to scramble to find a replacement because most of the stars at 205 pounds are booked. But UFC president Dana White confirmed to Yahoo! Sports on Thursday that Griffin had accepted the bout.

As many of you will remember, Tito and Forrest fought to a very close split decision back in April 2006 at UFC 59. This was well before anyone knew Forrest would go on to become a UFC champion and one of the world’s elite light heavyweights, so it was a pretty big deal at the time for one of their TUF champions to hold their own against one of their former world champions.

In November, it won’t be quite the upset it would have been in 2006 though. In fact, Tito will be the underdog in this fight. At least on paper, it’s a considerably harder fight for Tito than Coleman was, and both fighters have a lot on the line. Tito is looking to make a statement that he’s back, and prove that his back problems were the reason for his lackluster performances in recent years. Meanwhile, Forrest is coming off two losses, one to Rashad Evans where he lost his belt and one to Anderson Silva where he, well, just lost…horribly. Both need a win here which should make for a great fight.

What do you think? With Tito’s back now 100%, will he be able to take down Forrest down and ground n’ pound his way to victory or will Forrest get the win many thought he earned at UFC 59?

Quick update: It’s official.