Recapping UFC 231

The UFC was live on Saturday night from Toronto Canada on Pay Per View with 2 title fights in the Flyweight and Featherweight divisions. We had a card filled with 13 fights on Saturday in one of the most jam-packed fight cards of the year. In the Co-Main event of the evening, we had former Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3 #1 Ranked Strawweight) and former Bantamweight Title Challenger Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (16-3 #1 Ranked Flyweight). In our Main event, we saw Max “Blessed’ Holloway (20-3 Featherweight Champion) take on undefeated rising contender Brian “T-City” Ortega (14-1 1NC #1 Ranked Featherweight). The card started out very strong on Fight Pass, and the finishes were coming fast and furious. The main card did the same after a lull in the action during the FS1 portion of the card. We have 13 fights to look at so let’s check out the night that was UFC 231.

We kicked off the night on UFC Fight pass with Devin “Brown Bear” Clark (9-3) and Aleksander Rakic (11-1). Clark came right out with a giant right hand and stung Rakic immediately then going for a takedown. Rakic was able to get right back to his feet and eventually battled off the cage. Rakic was throwing a bunch of leg kicks and evading the big swings from Clark. Clark came lunging in again and a crushing left hand crumpled Rakic. Clark jumped on trying to finish, but he was unable to keep him there. They were against the fence and Rakic had both hands down on the mat and Clark was just unloading knees to the head of Rakic. These were all illegal, but nothing was ever said. Rakic was able to reverse out of the position and they were back in the center of the cage shortly. Rakic was peppering more and more leg kicks. They were scrambling and Clark clipped Rakic coming forward with a straight back fist. However, as Clark was coming in Rakic landed a shot and Clark hit the mat. Rakic pounced and just started unloading on Clark. Rakic was able to continue to pound him and this fight was over. What a way to deal with adversity from Aleksander Rakic. Rakic is a powerful 205lber and even dealing with the illegal knee situation in this matchup. Rakic has to be a ranked 205lb fighter coming up midweek.

We went to Lightweight next as Diego Ferreira (14-2) took on short notice replacement Kyle “The Monster” Nelson (12-2). Ferreira just missed and had to eat a right hand in return to start. Nelson continued to look for the counter right hand. Nelson started working the body and two hard kicks to the stomach hurt Ferreira. Nelson then blocked a takedown and landed a hard shin to the head of Ferreira. Nelson again stopped another takedown and was forcing Ferreira to stand up. Ferreira worked back and landed some nice combinations, but Nelson was returning big counter shots. Ferreira dipped in and shot for a takedown. Ferreira secured the takedown and had Nelson down up against the fence. Ferreira was trying to work for the kimura and slowly working to it. Nelson freed his arm and was now having to block big elbows. Ferreira was doing good work trying to smash with ground and pound to look to finish. Nelson was covering up and just trying to make it to the end of the round. The horn went off and we were headed to round 2.  Immediately Ferreira scored a takedown and had almost the full round to do work. Ferreira got into full mount and as unloading on a covering up Nelson. IT only took a few more punches, and the fight was called. After some early rough spots, Diego Ferreira was able to get the finish. Ferreira looked good and on the ground was just so much better than Nelson.

Two 170lb fighters were up next as Chad “The Disciple” Laprise (14-4) took on Dhiego Lima (15-7).  Laprise came right out looking to pressure Lima against the fence. Laprise was picking his spots where he was moving into pepper in his right hand. Laprise was also working on the lead leg of Lima. Then out of absolutely nowhere a left hand from Lima absolutely starched Laprise. Lima didn’t even bother following it up with anything else. Dhiego Lima was a giant underdog in this fight, and he came to prove a point. He couldn’t have landed a cleaner shot here and the win keeps him firmly on the UFC’s roster.

The Fight Pass portion of the card was finished up with 135lbers Brad “Superman” Katona (9-0) and  Matthew Lopez (10-5). Lopez caught an early kick and unleashed a combination that was blocked by Katona. These guys were trading in and out. Lopez was just missing with his shots and Katona was dancing around the outside. Lopez connected with a nice left and a big right hand over the top. Katona fired back with a right hand that snuck in. These guys kept trading big hooks. Lopez was able to drop down and score a big late takedown in the round. Katona was going back up from the bottom with elbows as the round ended. We headed to round two and Katona came out with a leg kick and then a head kick that was blocked. Lopez caught another kick and used it to score a takedown. Katona battled quickly back to his feet and got separation. Katona was landing the shots from the outside and dancing around. Lopez, however, was doing a solid job evading a lot of shots. Katona uncorked a big body-head combination. Katona threw another low kick and Lopez turned it into a takedown. Katona was able to battle very quickly back to his feet. Katona tried to get in and ate a hard left hand from Lopez. Katona’s leg kicks were piling up and Lopez front leg was starting to buckle. we headed to round 3 and Lopez was landing back and with Katona. The fight was staying on the feet and it was Katona who was getting the better of most of the exchanges. Katona kept bouncing around and anytime Lopez tried to get close he would push him back. Katona was landing on the breaks each time. Katona scored a late takedown and grabbed for a rear naked choke. It appeared that right before the horn Lopez went out. He had struggled to get back to his feet and was very wobbly. The fighter cannot be saved be saved by the bell, but it appears that he was. The judges would score it 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 all for Brad Katona. This was a solid follow up to the win that got him The Ultimate Fighter Title. He is now back in his natural weight class at 135lbs. Katona was calculated and good also showed he could take some big shots. Katona is going to be fun to watch going forward.

We went over to FS1 as Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (17-2 #14 Ranked Middleweight) and Eryk “Ya Boi” Anders (11-3) got those started. They touched gloves and Anders took the center of the Octagon. Anders tried to get in close and Theodorou grabbed the clinch and landed some knees in close. Anders evaded a big looping overhand right. Anders was continuing to try and stalk Theodorou. Anders wasn’t able to really get in a rhythm but did connect with a nice knee. Anders got a little overzealous and Theodorou latched on to his back and had him up against the fence hitting knees to the back of his leg. Anders was able to get separation and was back to chasing. Anders grabbed a kick late and threw some heavy shots, but Theodorou escaped his grasp just prior to the round ending. We headed to round 2 and Anders again was coming forward landing a few left hands. Ander was able to latch on and land, but Theodorou was returning fire on 1 foot. Theodorou caught a kick and dumped Anders. That did not last long as Anders was back on his feet and coming forward again. Anders kept moving forward and Theodorou was landing leg and body kicks. Anders then connected and caught Theodorou and hurting him. Anders was trying to find an opening to finish, but Theodorou was evading and making Anders clinch with him. More big left hands from Anders had Theodorou on wobbly feet. Anders was patiently stalking him. A big left hand from Anders sent Theodorou scrambling to the ground. Theodorou did get up and Anders just missed with another head kick. Theodorou was returning fire as the round came to an end. We headed to round 3 and it was Anders again stalking Theodorou. We had a brief stoppage and a warning about potential eye pokes. Anders just kept coming forward and searching for those big punches. Theodorou was trying to stay out of the range and land some strikes of his own. Theodorou kept trying to work the body with kicks. Anders successfully stuffed a takedown late in the round. Anders came forward again late looking to try and steal the round, but he ran out of time. The judges scored this one 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for the winner by split decision Elias Theodorou. This was classic Elias Theodorou. He was able to stay out of trouble outside of the last two minutes of the second round. He was just willing to grind out a win and got it yet again.

Two Flyweights were up next as Katlyn “Blonde Fighter” Chookagian (11-2 #3 Ranked Flyweight) took on Jessica “Evil” Eye (14-6 1NC #9 Ranked Flyweight). Eye came out coming forward and ate a counter left hand from Chookagian. Eye kept trying to move forward and Chookagian landed a front kick to the body. These two were just kickboxing and Chookagian landed the best shot with a left hook. They clinched and Eye landed a nice elbow as they separated. Chookagian snuck in a nice uppercut that landed clean. Chookagian was landing some nice kicks as the round was coming to a close then reversed a takedown and scored a throw as the round ended. We headed to round 2 and it was Chookagian trying to land her kicks. Eye did a good job catching a kick and backing her off. They clinched up against the fence, but Eye threw her off of her and they got back to the center of the cage. This was essentially a kickboxing match that Chookagian was winning. Eye started to really pressure her late in the round ripping a nice elbow over the top. We headed to round 3 and it was more of the same. Chookagian was able to catch Eye and started unloading shots on the ground. Eye was able to survive and battled back to her feet. They were back in the center of the cage trading. Eye landed a nice ick to the body and Chookagian was forced to circle out. Eye was finding a home late in the fight for her punches. Eye went for one last late takedown, but Chookagian stuffed it and we headed to the judges. They scored it  29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for the winner by split decision Jessica Eye. She was the aggressor for the most part with pressure even if she wasn’t landing as effectively. Eye was calling out for a title shot after, and she may just get it.

Another 155lb fight was next as Olivier “The Canadian Gangster” Aubin-Mercier (12-4) took on hard-hitting Brazilian Gilbert “Durinho” Burns (14-3). Aubin-Mercier was the guy coming across the cage trying to back Burns up against the fence. Aubin-Mercier threw a head kick that was blocked and Burns came firing back with shots. Burns then got the clinch up against the fence. Burns secured the takedown and got the fight to the mat. Burns was trying to transition, but Aubin Mercier was able to get back to his feet. They were back in the center of the cage and Burns hit a straight left hand that dropped him. Burns then dove on top of him and started just unloading hammer fists. Somehow Aubin-Mercier was able to stay alive. Burns was able to transition to take his back and was holding him there. He did not get a chance to lock in a submission as the round came to an end. We headed to round 2 and Aubin-Mercier was being much more calculated on the feet. Burns was basically looking to counter as they went. Burns landed a hard hook to the body. Aubin Mercier was able to duck and dip under some hooks from Burns. Another right hand from Burns, however, stumbled Aubin-Mercier. Burns tried to fly in with a jumping knee but was unable to connect. Burns just kept working the body and returning fire any time Aubin-Mercier tried to strike. Burns threw a takedown, but he couldn’t keep him down long. Immediately when they got back to the feet a trip from Burns got the fight to the mat as the round ended. We headed to round 3 and Aubin-Mercier was right in his face against the fence. Burns was able to push him off and was starting to get the better on the feet again. Burns was able to score a takedown, and he was trying to set up for a submission. Burns was able to move to his back and locked in a body triangle. Burns went for a kneebar from back mount, which is very rare. Aubin-Mercier defended against that, but Burns was punishing him while he tried to set up a rear naked choke. Aubin-Mercier was able to finally escape and get back to his feet. He was firing big shots in the middle of the cage as the fight came to an end. The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 for the winner Gilbert Burns. Burns was very impressive in this matchup. He was just dominant on the feet and the ground. His power makes him so dangerous, but his grappling is also world class. This guy needs a Top 15 opponent next.

The final prelim of the evening was a Top 15 Strawweight matchup as Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha (16-4 #3 Ranked Strawweight) took on Nina Ansaroff (9-5 #11 Ranked Strawweight). Ansaroff was trying to work her way in close to Gadelha, but it was Gadelha who ended up scoring a clinch against the fence. Gadelha used it to secure a takedown. Gadelha was on top on the mat and trying to work herself into a better position. Gadelha backed off and set it up to dive down with a giant right hand that connected. Gadelha stayed on top of her and was just unloading with big elbows. Ansaroff rolled out and got back to her feet. Ansaroff hit a hard uppercut on Gadelha as she was coming forward. Ansaroff was continuing to move forward and stopped a takedown attempt from Gadelha. Ansaroff had a leg caught y Gadelha and was throwing hard punches as she bounced on one leg. We headed to round 2 and Ansaroff started off with a hard jab. Ansaroff was unloading combinations on Gadelha on the feet. Another uppercut from Ansaroff pushed Gadelha back. Gadelha was trying to move forward, but Ansaroff was holding her own. Gadelha finally grabbed a hold of Ansaroff and used a slam to get the fight to the mat. We went in to round 3 and Gadelha landed a nice left hand. Ansaroff started getting a clinch, but Gadelha ripped a hard right hand. They were just circling in the cage trading right hands. Gadelha tried to grab for a clinch but was unable to do anything with it. Ansaroff came back with a nice left hook as she was continuously moving backward. We headed to the judges and they scored it 29-28 across the board fro Nina Ansaroff. This was by far the biggest win of her career. She was able to outstrike and steal a big win over a former title challenger. She is going to skyrocket up the rankings at 115lbs.

We started off the main card at 205lbs as Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa (17-5 #7 Ranked Light Heavyweight) took on Thiago “de Lima Marreta” Santos (20-6 #15 Ranked Middleweight). Almost immediately a right hand from Santos clipped Manuwa. He was trying to recover, but Santos was landing another big shot. Manuwa immediately tried to latch on to him and hold him against the fence. He was able to keep him there and try to recover. Manuwa backed off and as soon as he let go he got hit with more big punches that wobbled him. Manuwa finally let go, and it was he who landed the big shots that hurt Santos. Manuwa hit a hard elbow then right hand. Santos returned with two big head kicks that just missed. Santos took him down, but Manuwa was not long for the ground. They were clinched against the fence and Manuwa snuck in an uppercut. Santos backed away and landed a hard left hand of his own. Both guys were swinging for the absolute fences as the round carried on. Santos had Manuwa pressed against the fence and was landing knees in the clinch. Santos separated and hit a nice elbow. Santos spun and evaded. They were going back and forth and Manuwa then landed an elbow of his own. Santos was on wobbly feet and tried to throw a big head kick, but missed and fell. Manuwa dove on him and was trying to grapple him as the round came to an end. They started round 2 trying to live up to one of the craziest rounds of 2018. Santos was throwing hard kicks and Manuwa was throwing big hooks. Santos had Manuwa up against the fence and Santos was teeing off. Santos came was landing big left hooks. He uncorked one last one and Manuwa folded onto himself on the mat. Thiago Santos has officially arrived at 205lbs. He just beat a guy who has lived in the Top 10 at 205lbs for the past few years. Santos has the power to compete with anyone in the division, and this proved it.

A fun Featherweight matchup was up next as Hakeem “Mean” Dawodu (9-1-1) went up against Kyle “Crash” Bochniak (8-4). Dawodu came out and was working on the outside and circling Bochniak. Dawodu was trying to dip in but was consistently getting blocked. Bochniak was going in and out and finding a home for his straight right. Dawodu was working the body but ate a right hand. Dawodu came right back over the top with a right hand though that did damage. Bochniak hit a nice counter combination that finished with a left hook. Dawodu missed with a big combination and Bochniak turned it into a takedown. Dawodu did not stay on the ground long and worked his way back to his feet quickly. Bochniak stayed attached to him up against the fence and was holding him there. Dawodu was able to fight his way off the fence and got back to the center of the cage as the round came to an end. We headed to round 2 and Dawodu hit the body and head with a combination. Dawodu kept digging in with hooks to the body. Bochniak caught a kick and dumped Dawodu to the mat. Dawodu got right back up however and was trying to force the action. Dawodu ate a hard elbow as he dipped in to try and get his striking going. Bochniak landed a strong left hook that landed flush as Dawodu was trying to come in. Dawodu stopped another takedown from Bochniak. They circled around as the round came to an end. We headed to round 3 and Dawodu led off with a leg kick. Bochniak came in and grab for the clinch and hit a nice knee up the middle. Bochniak caught a kick and tried to go for a takedown, but they just ended up pressed up against the fence. Dawodu pushed him off him and they were back in the center of the Octagon. Bochniak was landing a few punches and then ducked a hook and scored a solid takedown. Dawodu, however, was able to battle back to his feet and they were trading. Dawodu ate a hard elbow on the break of a clinch. Bochniak went for another takedown, but they ended up against the fence again. Dawodu again stopped the takedown and they circled in the cage. Dawodu landed another big right hand and then a left as the round and fight came to an end. We headed to the judges and they scored it 30-27, 28-29, and 30-27 for the split decision winner Hakeem Dawodu. The split decision was very iffy, but Dawodu was the rightful winner. Hakeem Dawodu has a bright future in the UFC.

A Top 15 Welterweight matchup was next as Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (19-5-1 2NC #13 Ranked Welterweight) took on Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (17-3-1 #14 Ranked Welterweight). Nelson came right out looking to score a takedown, and Oliveira was shutting it down. He landed a few really hard elbows that may have glanced of the back of the head of Nelson. Nelson went for a giant slam and Oliveira blatantly grabbed the cage. The ref stopped the fight briefly to give out a stern warning and they put it back in the position against the fence. Nelson finally got the fight to the mat. Nelson quickly transitioned to the back of Oliveira. Nelson was holding on to the body triangle, but Oliveira was able to spin around in the triangle and end up on top. Oliveira was raining down punches on the ground and they were coming fast and furious. Nelson seemed calm and cool despite being pummeled with shots. Nelson went for a leg lock but was unable to get it locked in and the horn sounded. We headed to round 2 and Oliveira came right in and they clinched against the cage. Oliveira pushed the fight to the mat for a second, but Nelson got back to his feet quickly. They ended up transitioning and Nelson ended up in full mount on top. Nelson was on top but was unable to do a ton of damage until giant elbows started raining down and Oliveira was cut all over. Nelson immediately transitioned to taking his back and locked in a rear naked choke. Nelson got the quick tap and that was that. Gunnar Nelson returned to his true form with this win. He caused one of the craziest cuts we have seen in a long time with his elbows on top. Gunnar Nelson is still a force to be reckoned with at 170lbs.

It was time for the Co-Main event for the vacant Flyweight Title as former Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-3 #1 Ranked Strawweight) and former Bantamweight Title Challenger Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (16-3 #1 Ranked Flyweight) went at it. The two traded low leg kicks to try and get some range. Shevchenko hit a nice left hand, but for the most part, this was a leg kick battle. They immediately then clinched and Valentina took Joanna to the mat. Valentina was in side control and landed a nice elbow on the ground. Valentina tried to set up a crucifix, but Joanna snuck out and we got back to the feet. Joanna got up and they were back up against the fence and they kept trading who was on the outside in control. Valentina kept trying to get a throw and have the fight go back to the mat. Joanna was doing a good job staying on the feet and keeping it standing. They broke and Joanna landed a nice left hand as Valentina threw a short elbow. Joanna threw a low kick and Valentina landed a spinning back kick to the body. Joanna landed a kick to the body but ate a combination. Valentina caught a kick as the horn sounded. We headed to round 2 and Joanna was continuing to try and find a home for her striking. Valentina just missed with a spinning back fist. They were just standing and kickboxing essentially. Joanna was moving forward and every time she came in Valentina would come back and land a hard counter combination. Joanna tried to rush in again and instead ate a hard right hook from Valentina. Joanna went to throw a head kick and it was caught and a takedown happened. Joanna got back to her feet, but Valentina then threw and slammed Joanna to the mat. Valentina was in side control and landed a nice elbow on the mat. Joanna was trying to use wrist control to prevent any major damage as the round was ticking away. Joanna got back to her feet and ate a hard knee to the face just prior to the round coming to an end. We headed to round 3 and Joanna was trying to establish her kicks. Valentina landed a hard spinning back kick that really connected. Joanna had her head kick caught again and Valentina tried to take it to the mat but was unable to keep it there. Joanna finally uncorked a head kick that connected, but it only seemed to energize Valentina who came back with a hard combination. Valentina tried to grab for a throw, but Joanna was able to stay up and slip away and almost seemed to motion that Valentina could not get her to the mat. They bounced around and Shevchenko grabbed her against the fence. She landed a knee in the clinch up high late in the round but ended the round pressed up against the fence. We went to the championship rounds and Joanna was throwing more than before. Forcing Valentina to block head kicks and evade punches. Valentina grabbed on for the clinch and they were on the cage for just a second. Valentina landed a nice elbow on the break, and they were back in the center of the Octagon trading. Valentina then scored a takedown and was back in side control. Joanna was somehow able to scramble back to her feet and was trying to switch it around to take Valentina’s back. They were clinched against the fence and Joanna was using knees to the body. Shevchenko was trying to bring the fight to the ground, but Joanna was staying on her feet. They were back in the center of the cage and traded front kicks to the body. Joanna got in a few nice shots as the round came to an end. We headed to the final round and Joanna started with a strong right hand. Joanna was the one moving forward and stalking Valentina around the cage. Joanna was tripped as they clinched, but Joanna got right back to her feet. Valentina was keeping Joanna up against the fence and throwing knees. The referee separated them back to the center of the cage for stalling. Joanna landed a hard right hand and kept evading combinations from Valentina. They were trading in the center of the Octagon and really going at it. Valentina latched on to Joanna with a minute left and we were pressed up against the cage. They got off the fence and Joanna threw a blocked head kick. Valentina landed another spinning back kick Joanna missed a spinning back fist and they were pressed up against the fence. They ended the fight in the clinch and shared a hug after the horn sounded. The judges would score this one 49-46 across the board for the new Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko. The early rounds is where Shevchenko earned this fight. Her takedown and aggression was just top notch. She used her grapping and just controlled those rounds. It will be really interesting to see who she gets next, but for now, she is the Undisputed Flyweight Champion and it is well deserved.

We closed out the show with the Featherweight Title matchup between Max “Blessed” Holloway (20-3 Featherweight Champion) and Brian “T-City” Ortega (14-1 1NC #1 Ranked Featherweight). These two met in the center of the cage and were feinting back and forth. Ortega threw a low leg kick and Holloway started coming forward landing a nice left hand. Holloway landed a nice counter right hand on a charging in Ortega as the crowd was chanting the champion’s name. Holloway’s right hand was really finding a home in the early going. Holloway landed another right hand, but this time Ortega returned fire that connected. They again each traded right hands. Holloway came in and Ortega landed a nice elbow. Ortega landed another right hand and scored a takedown. Holloway, however, was not on the ground long and they were back in the center of the cage. Holloway kept the right hand s coming and these guys were going back and forth. Two big right hands from Holloway seemed to stumble Ortega, but Ortega came right back and threw a nice head kick. Ortega went for a takedown late in the round, but Holloway stayed on his feet up against the fence. We headed to round 2 and Holloway was coming forward again. Holloway’s right hand just kept finding a home. Holloway set up a nice right hand with a double left and hit him flush with the right hand on the chin. The right hands just kept coming from Holloway and Ortega reached for a takedown that did not get close. These guys were really trading and Holloway was eating everything that landed from Ortega. Holloway hit a nice left head kick, but Ortega was right there in this. Ortega landed a big right hand of his own. Ortega was moving in and the right hand from Holloway was just continuing to find a home.  Ortega was trying to return fire, but the right hands were pouring on from Holloway. Ortega started battling back with more right hands from him. Ortega was pressing forward and doubled up on his left hand. Ortega landed another nice shot as the round came to an end. We went in to round 3 a left hand came from Ortega to start. Holloway was coming in and Ortega landed a right hand. They came together in a clinch for a second and Holloway landed a right hand. Ortega then returned with some big punches including a right hand that seemed to wobble Holloway. Ortega tried to go for a takedown and had him for just a second. Ortega tried to go to his back, but Holloway slipped out and they were back to trading. Ortega landed a really hard leg kick and they were now standing in front of each other. Ortega as walking forward and snuck in a hard uppercut. Holloway landed a right hand and then a hard elbow. Ortega kept coming forward and another right hand landed from Holloway. Ortega came forward and had him pressed up against the cage in the clinch. Holloway broke off the cage and landed a hard right hand. Holloway kept coming forward and landing. They were back in the center and Ortega tagged him with a big right hand. Ortega threw a head kick that was mostly blocked. More right hands from Holloway that were finding a home. They were just absolutely trading in the center of the Octagon. Ortega came forward ate a big right hand and then tried to go for a takedown. Holloway stayed on his feet and was pressed against the fence as the horn sounded. We went to the championship rounds and Holloway led right out with a hard right hand. Ortega was coming forward, but the movement from Holloway was on display. Holloway was landing and Ortega was swinging and missing. Ortega then dug one in to the body. That almost seemed to energize Holloway however who was returning heavy hands. Ortega tried for a takedown, but Holloway pushed him away and was unloading on Ortega. Holloway had him against the fence and was unloading. Ortega circled away and was back off the cage. Holloway found another opening and was just teeing off on a hands-down Ortega. That forced a takedown attempt from Ortega, but Holloway was able to stay on his feet against the fence. Holloway circled out and Ortega tried to pull guard. They were back in the center of the cage and Holloway was peppering him. Holloway tried to grab for a guillotine, but he quickly backed off and made Ortega stand with him. Holloway was going right back at the badly damaged left side of Ortega’s face. Holloway stopped another takedown. Holloway then stopped another takedown and ended up on top and sliding out of a leg lock. They were back on the feet and Holloway just let it all hang out as the round came to an end. Ortega went for one last takedown, but it was blocked as the horn sounded. We headed to round 5 and Ortega’s eye was swollen very bad below his eye. During the stoppage, the doctor decided to call the fight due to the damage done to Ortega. Max Holloway put on an absolute show in this matchup. Holloway has now won 13 straight and cemented himself as the king of the 145lb division now and potentially all time. Who knows what happens next whether he moves up or stays at 145lbs, but for now Max Holloway is one of the best fighters the UFC has to offer.

UFC 231 was a really fun fight card. The Fight Pass prelims were absolute fire with a bunch of finishes early on. We then headed to the FS1 prelims and they had some extremely close decisions. The main card started with an absolute bang with Thiago Santos. Then when we got into the title fights and they were absolutely spectacular. Valentina Shevchenko finally got the gold that she searched for so long. Max Holloway looked incredible and cemented a legacy at 145lbs that is up there with some of the best the sport has had to offer. The UFC returns next Saturday on FOX for the 31st and final time on this TV deal and it is headlined by a 155lb rematch as Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee (17-3 #4 Ranked Lightweight) takes on “Raging” Al Iaquinta (13-4-1 #8 Ranked Lightweight).

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