The Octagon returns to Toronto on Saturday night with Max’Blessed’ Holloway protecting his featherweight belt against undefeated Brian’T-City Ortega in the UFC 231 headliner in Scotiabank Arena.
At early Friday night, many books had Ortega (14-0-1 MMA, 6-0-1 UFC) recorded as a -125 favored with a total of 3.5 rounds (‘beneath’ -125,’over’ -105). Holloway was the short’chalk’ for many months until Thursday when the 27-year-old Ortega took on the favourite role.
Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) has won 12 consecutive fights since losing a unanimous decision against Conor’The Notorious’ McGregor in UFC Boston on August 17 of 2013. During this incredible run, the 27-year-old Hawaiian has completed nine of 12 foes and collected five fight-night bonuses.
Holloway entered the title picture in 2015 by submitting Cub Swanson, beating Charles Oliveira and earning decision victories over Cole Miller and Jeremy Stephens. Then in 2016 Holloway knocked off Ricardo Lamas by choice, enticing’The Bully’ to a swing-for-the-fences contest in the final 10 minutes of this scrap (it was barbarous!) .
The success over Lamas garnered Holloway a shot at the interim 145-pound strap contrary to former lightweight champion Anthony’Showtime’ Pettis. Holloway won the belt by simply taking out Pettis using a third-round knockout at UFC 206 in Toronto.
Next,’Blessed’ took on the legendary Jose Aldo Jr. to combine the featherweight belts. Holloway went into Aldo’s hometown of Rio and beat him by way of third-round KO in UFC 212. Then from the rematch in Detroit in UFC 218, Holloway once more won with a third-round KO of Aldo on Dec. two of 2017.
Advertisement Coming into 2018, Holloway had the look of one the advertising’s most dominant champions. However, he had to withdraw from his scheduled March 3 title defense against former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar because of an injury. When Tony Ferguson was injured doing media a week before confronting Khabib Nurmagomedov for Ferguson’s interim lightweight buckle, Holloway accepted an offer to confront Nurmagomedov on just six days of notice.
The fight on April 7 did not occur, though, since the New York Athletic Commission forced Holloway to quit cutting weight — from health/safety concerns — on Friday morning. He was also scheduled to defend his featherweight title against Ortega at UFC 226 on July 7, but he was pulled from the struggle due to”concussion-like symptoms.”
Holloway was placed on the shelf while doctors ran different tests. The health care people never quite figured out what the issue was to get its featherweight kingpin, but they nonetheless cleared him to return to fighting. There was a good deal of chatter concerning how Holloway’s weight cut would go, but he stepped on the scale this morning and hit his mark with a half-pound to spare at 144.5 pounds.
Ortega also had an effortless weight reduction and was among the fighters to make his or her number. He’s less than 24 hours off from his shot at fulfilling a life-long dream.
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