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 at Scotiabank Arena.
As of early Friday night, many novels had Ortega (14-0-1 MMA, 6-0-1 UFC) listed as a -125 favored with a total of 3.5 rounds (‘under’ -125,’over’ -105). Holloway had been the brief’chalk’ for several months until Thursday when the 27-year-old Ortega took on the favorite function.
Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) has won 12 consecutive battles since losing a unanimous decision against Conor’The Notorious’ McGregor at UFC Boston on August 17 of 2013. In this unbelievable run, the 27-year-old Hawaiian has finished nine of 12 foes and accumulated 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’ into a swing-for-the-fences competition in the final 10 minutes of the garbage (it was savage!) .
The success over Lamas garnered Holloway a shot at the interim 145-pound strap against former lightweight champion Anthony’Showtime’ Pettis. Holloway won the belt by taking out Pettis with a third-round knockout at UFC 206 in Toronto.
Next,’Blessed’ took on the mythical Jose Aldo Jr. to unify the featherweight belts. Holloway went to Aldo’s hometown of Rio and beat him by way of third-round KO in UFC 212. Subsequently from the rematch in Detroit in UFC 218, Holloway once more won using 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 needed to withdraw from his scheduled March 3 title defense against former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar due to an injury. When Tony Ferguson was injured doing media a week before facing Khabib Nurmagomedov for Ferguson’s interim lightweight belt, Holloway accepted an offer to confront Nurmagomedov on just six days of notice.
The fight on April 7 did not occur, though, because the New York Athletic Commission forced Holloway to stop cutting weight — from health/safety concerns — on Friday morning. He had been also scheduled to defend his featherweight title against Ortega in UFC 226 on July 7, however, he was pulled from the struggle because of”concussion-like symptoms”
Holloway was put on the shelf while doctors ran various tests. The medical people never quite figured out what the issue was to get the featherweight kingpin, but they nonetheless cleared him to return to fighting. There was a good deal of chatter concerning how Holloway’s weight reduction would go, but he stepped on the scale this morning and then hit his mark with a half-pound to spare at 144.5 pounds.
Ortega also had an easy weight cut and was among the first fighters to make his number. He’s less than 24 hours off from his shot at fulfilling a life-long dream.
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