UFC 231 – Best Bets
The Octagon returns to Toronto on Saturday night with Max’Blessed’ Holloway protecting his featherweight belt against undefeated Brian’T-City Ortega at 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 was the short’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 fights since losing a unanimous decision against Conor’The Notorious’ McGregor at 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 name picture in 2015 by submitting Cub Swanson, beating Charles Oliveira and making decision victories over Cole Miller and Jeremy Stephens. Then in 2016 Holloway knocked off Ricardo Lamas by decision, enticing’The Bully’ into a swing-for-the-fences competition in the final 10 minutes of the garbage (it was barbarous!) .
The success over Lamas garnered Holloway a shot in the interim 145-pound strap contrary to former lightweight champion Anthony’Showtime’ Pettis. Holloway won the belt by taking out Pettis with a third-round knockout at UFC 206 at Toronto.
Next,’Blessed’ took on the legendary Jose Aldo Jr. to combine the featherweight belts. Holloway went into Aldo’s hometown of Rio and defeat him through third-round KO at UFC 212. Then from the rematch at Detroit in UFC 218, Holloway once again 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. But 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 hurt doing press 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 did not happen, though, because the New York Athletic Commission compelled Holloway to quit cutting weight — from health/safety worries — on Friday morning. He was scheduled to defend his featherweight title against Ortega at UFC 226 on July 7, but he had been pulled from the fight because of”concussion-like symptoms”
Holloway was put on the shelf while physicians ran various tests. The health care people never quite figured out what the problem was to get its featherweight kingpin, but they nonetheless cleared him to return to fighting. There was a whole lot of chatter concerning how Holloway’s weight cut 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 had an easy weight cut and was among the first fighters to generate his number. He is less than 24 hours away from his shot at satisfying a life-long dream.