The Octagon returns to Toronto on Saturday night with Max’Blessed’ Holloway defending his featherweight belt against undefeated Brian’T-City Ortega in the UFC 231 headliner in Scotiabank Arena.
At early Friday night, many novels had Ortega (14-0-1 MMA, 6-0-1 UFC) recorded as a -125 favorite with a total of 3.5 rounds (‘beneath’ -125,’over’ -105). Holloway had been the short’chalk’ for many months before Thursday if the 27-year-old Ortega took on the favourite role.
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. During this unbelievable run, the 27-year-old Hawaiian has finished 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 successes over Cole Miller and Jeremy Stephens. Subsequently in 2016 Holloway knocked off Ricardo Lamas by decision, enticing’The Bully’ into a swing-for-the-fences contest in the final 10 minutes of this garbage (it was barbarous!) .
The victory 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 taking out Pettis using a third-round knockout at UFC 206 at Toronto.
Next,’Blessed’ took on the legendary Jose Aldo Jr. to unify the featherweight belts. Holloway went to Aldo’s hometown of Rio and defeat him by way of third-round KO at UFC 212. Subsequently in the rematch at Detroit in UFC 218, Holloway once more won with a third-round KO of Aldo on Dec. 2 of 2017.
Ad Coming into 2018, Holloway had the look of one the promotion’s most dominant champions. However, he needed 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 facing Khabib Nurmagomedov for Ferguson’s interim lightweight buckle, Holloway accepted an offer to confront Nurmagomedov on just six days of note.
The fight on April 7 didn’t occur, though, because the New York Athletic Commission forced Holloway to stop cutting weight — out of 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 had been pulled from the struggle due to”concussion-like symptoms.”
Holloway was put on the shelf while physicians ran different tests. The health care individuals never really figured out exactly what the problem was for the featherweight kingpin, but they cleared him to return to fighting. There was a good deal of chatter about how Holloway’s weight cut goes, 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 reduction and was among the fighters to generate his or her number. He’s less than 24 hours away from his shot at fulfilling a lifelong fantasy.
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