UFC 231 ‘Holloway vs. Ortega’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round-by-Round Scoring

By Ben Duffy Dec 8, 2018


UFC 231 is now available on Amazon Prime.

Sherdog's live UFC 231 coverage kicks off Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET.



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Aleksandar Rakic vs. Devin Clark

Round 1

Light heavyweights Rakic and Clark kick off the evening in Toronto, with Brian Beauchamp the third man in the cage. Clark immediately comes over a Rakic body kick with a hard right hand and drops the Austrian. Clark gives chase, but Rakic recovers quickly, stands against the fence, and they disengage. Rakic is not dissuaded from his game plan, however, and begins throwing a variety of kicks to the legs and head. Clark times his man again and drops him with another huge right hand. This time he grabs a front headlock and begins throwing knees. Rakic drops to his knees, plants a hand, but Clark nails him with several completely illegal knees while technically grounded. Rakic somehow recovers, and they reset in the center of the Octagon with 90 seconds left. Clark catches Rakic for a third time mid-kick, wobbles him, but this time Rakic is there for him. Rakic nails him with a right backfist, dropping him. He follows him to the ground and lays on punches from behind until referee Beauchamp pulls him off. Aleksandar Rakic extends his winning streak to 11 in a wild affair.

The Official Result

Alexsandar Rakic def. Devin Clark R1 4:05 via TKO (Punches)

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Kyle Nelson

Round 1

Six-fight UFC vet Ferreira prepares to welcome 12-1 newcomer Nelson, who hails from Ontario and stepped up on short notice. Ivan Svec is the referee. They touch gloves and exchange kicks and single shots, both in orthodox stance. A minute in, Nelson nails Ferreira with a front kick and he staggers back in obvious pain. They clinch, but Nelson disengages and tags him with another body kick. Ferreira goes down and Nelson follows, then stands. Ferreira stays on his back, motioning Nelson, who is having none of it. Nelson throws his hands up, working the partisan crowd as Svec tells the Brazilian to stand. They reengage, swinging wildly, but with Nelson appearing to slow. With two minutes left, Ferreira shoots a slow-motion double, but finishes easily at the base of the fence. From half-guard, Ferreira works for a kimura, then gives it up to start throwing leather. With 30 seconds, Ferreira stacks Nelson and lands in mount. He tees off until the horn, with Svec looking on closely. 10-9 Ferreira.

Round 2

Nelson looks much the worse for wear to start the second rounds, and Ferreira shoots a single immediately, toppling the taller man. He knifes through Nelson’s guard, then passes to mount with 4:10 left in the round. From there, Ferreira drops punches until Nelson covers up and turns fetal. Referee Svec pulls Ferreira off, giving him his third straight win in the UFC.

The Official Result

Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson R2 1:23 via TKO (Punches)

Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima

Round 1

London, Ontario’s Laprise squares off with the "other" Lima brother, who is looking to secure his first official UFC victory. Referee Graham Bettes will oversee the proceedings. Laprise is the pursuer in the early going, tagging Lima with outside leg kicks as Lima circles and gives ground. Two minutes in, Lima tags Laprise with a beautiful lead left hook as Laprise closes the distance. Laprise crumples as if he was shot, and referee Bettes steps in as Lima walks off with hands raised. Sensational knockout for Dhiego Lima in hostile territory.

The Official Result

Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise R1 1:37 via KO (Punch)

Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez

Round 1

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 27 featherweight winner Katona makes his foray into the UFC 135-pound division against Lopez, who is 2-3 overall in the UFC and on a two-fight skid. Brian Beauchamp draws the referee assignment. Orthodox Katona uses a variety of kicks on the southpaw Lopez in the early going, including a high kick that slaps loudly but is shrugged off. A minute in, they clinch and Lopez uses an overhook to deny Katona’s apparent attempt to get a rear waistlock and throw or drag him. Halfway through the round, the bantamweights are trading single shots and one-twos in the center of the Octagon, with former wrestler Lopez giving as good as he gets from the karateka and boxer. With 90 seconds left, Katona easily steps away from Lopez’s first apparent takedown attempt. The second one, a minute later, is successful, as Lopez runs Katona into the fence and uses the “bounce” to scoop and dump him. The end the round with Katona throwing elbows from the bottom and Lopez punching from the top. 10-9 Lopez.

Round 2

Lopez catches a kick and runs Katona to the canvas, landing in full guard, but Katona quickly shrimps, stands and escapes. They exchange on the feet, with both men landing. Katona seems to be finding his range and rhythm. With two minutes left, Lopez takes Katona down off another kicks, but again Katona escapes quickly. In the final minute, Katona is starting to gain momentum, beating Lopez to the punch repeatedly as Lopez looks shy to pull the trigger. 10-9 Katona.

Round 3

30 seconds in, Lopez throws a head kick that lands, and Katona responds with a left outside leg kick that stumbles Lopez. Neither man is throwing much volume in the first two minutes, but Katona’s punches have more snap, and he is certainly the livelier man on his feet. At the halfway point of the round, Lopez lands a nice one-two but Katona responds with a better one, eliciting a pop from the Canadian crowd. With 60 seconds to go, Lopez shoots from way outside, bails, but lands a punch on the break. 30 seconds left, its Katona who shoots for a takedown. He’s denied, but blasts Lopez with punches as they’re tied up. Katona goes for it again, spins behind Lopez and sinks a no-hooks rear-naked choke with seconds left. It’s extremely tight. The horn sounds, the fighters separate and only then is it apparent that Lopez was out. Confusion ensues as Lopez has difficulty getting back to his feet. Referee Brian Beauchamp elects to let it go to the judges rather than call it a technical submission. 10-8 Katona (29-27 Katona).

The Official Result

Brad Katona def. Matthew Lopez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou

Round 1

Middleweights Anders and Theordorou face off under the watchful eye of referee Jerin Valel. Theodorou immediately circles around the outside, throwing long kicks. Anders rushes him to the fence, but “Spartan” breaks away and resumes moving and kicking. It’s all Theodorou dancing away and Anders plodding in pursuit. Two minutes in, Anders catches his quarry, landing a hard knee from the clinch in the middle of the Octagon. Halfway through the round, Theodorou sidesteps a charging Anders and runs him into the fence, clinching and throwing knees at Anders legs from behind. They break away and the chase continues. With a minute left, Anders is wiping at an eye, but motions referee Valel away. The round ends with Theodorou winding up for a spinning kick which he abandons. 10-9 Theodorou.

Round 2

Round 2 begins the same as the first, with Anders walking down Theodorou as the Canadian slides away from the fence and throws long kicks. A minute in, they clinch again the fence and Anders lands a hard body punch while holding a leg with his other arm. Halfway through the round, Anders is still moving forward relentlessly while Theodorou keeps the range with push kicks to the lead leg and body. Anders catches Theodorou with a right hook that puts him on wobbly legs immediately. He tries to give chase, but doesn’t swarm, keeping his composure and picking his shots. He wobbles Theodorou again, and pursues him to the fence. With 30 seconds left, Anders nails Theodorou with a left for a clean knockdown. He pursues again, but Theodorou recovers very quickly, and we will see a third round. 10-9 Anders.

Round 3

The final frame opens with Theodorou playing the matador once more, but Anders is having greater success finding him. Referee Valel pauses the action for an eye poke by Anders at 3:30, issues a warning and restarts them quickly. Suddenly it’s Theodorou coming forward, but Anders makes him pay, landing with both hands. Both men have slowed significantly, but seem to feel some urgency. Theodorou comes forward in the final minute, grabs a single-leg but is unable to get Anders down. Both men are breathing with mouths open, neither giving ground as they trade tired shots. The horn sounds and a rousing round ends as both men put their hands in the air. 10-9 Theodorou (29-28 Theodorou).

The Official Result

Elias Theodorou def. Eryk Anders via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

After the decison is read Theodorou, face still in perfectly suitable condition for his Invicta FC ring card duties next weekend, takes the mic and calls for an end to the stigmatization of medical cannabis. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, unsurprisingly, gives him the time.

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Eye

Round 1

Chookagian and Eye meet in a match with significant implications in the wide-open UFC flyweight division. Todd Anderson is the referee. Eye pursues the taller Chookagian, throwing hard overhand punches, both in orthodox stance. Chookagian circles and throws long kicks at the legs and body of her pursuer. Through half a round, Eye is very much the aggressor, walking Chookagian down while throwing harder and landing far more volume. Hard right kick to the ribs by Chookagian with 90 seconds left. At the horn, Chookagian uses an underhook to toss Eye to the canvas, too late to follow up. 10-9 Eye.

Round 2

Chookagian opens Round 2 throwing jabs and standing her ground where she spent the first stanza largely on her back foot. A minute in, Eye is coming forward as Chookagian slides and circles just out of range. Chookagian’s movement and counters are much more effective in this round than in the first. Nice kick to the body by Chookagian. With less than a minute left, Eye bulls Chookagian to the fence and lands a good shot to the face. They separate and finish the round throwing sporadic shots in the center of the cage. 10-9 Chookagian.

Round 3

It’s more of the same to open the third, as Eye comes forward and Chookagian uses her footwork to evade and land the occasional counter, in what figures to be a very hard fight to score. 90 seconds in, Chookagian eats a hard uppercut but trips Eye to the floor. She works to take Eye’s back, but Eye escapes well and they return to the feet. Chookagian much more aggressive with her kicks in the back half of the round. With a minute left, it feels like anyone’s round, and the women are fighting like it. Eye is landing with her punches, and Chookagian’s face is showing it. The round ends with Chookagian using a whizzer to force Eye down while punching her face with her free hand. 10-9 Chookagian (29-28 Chookagian).

The Official Result

Jessica Eye def. Katlyn Chookagian via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns

Round 1

“The Canadian Gangster” and “Durinho” face off in a match of promising lightweights looking to get back on track after losses, with Yves Lavigne set to referee. The southpaw Aubin-Mercier comes out throwing hard, tight punching combos, while the orthodox Burns throws a variety of kicks, including a head kick in the opening seconds. Two minutes in, Burns, executes a beautiful hip throw, slamming Aubin-Mercier to the canvas against the fence. Aubin-Mercier gets to his feet, but Burns is relentless. Finally they break and return to exchanging on the feet. Out of nowhere, Burns drops the Canadian with a left hook and swarms with punches and hammerfists. Aubin-Mercier is in serious trouble. Burns takes the back of Aubin-Mercier and locks in a body triangle. Burns is patient, looking for a choke or armbar, but too patient; by the time he isolates and arm and begins to peel off, the 10-second clapper has sounded. The horn sounds. 10-9 Burns.

Round 2

Aubin-Mercier is again aggressive to start the second round. He is also showing quite the welt on his left side from Burns’ kicks. Aubin-Mercier is coming forward with hard kicks and punches, while Burns is throwing very little back. Suddenly Burns throws a right that staggers Aubin-Mercier, but the Canadian recovers before he can take advantage. Burns is more active now, throwing hard single shots and kicks. With less than a minute left he runs Aubin-Mercier to the canvas, throwing a few strikes against the fence, but not much can develop before the round ends. 10-9 Burns.

Round 3

The final frame opens and it appears Aubin-Mercier feels he is behind. He comes forward throwing punch combinations and hard kicks. Burns ties him up against the fence. 90 seconds in, the action has slowed on the feet. Burns drops for a single-leg and takes Aubin-Mercier down with ease. Burns is heavy on top, working against the fence to pass. Burns passes Aubin-Mercier’s half-guard and slips effortlessly to the back, where he locks in a body triangle. He fishes first for a choke, then briefly for a kneebar. With a minute left, Burns is in total control, switching between throwing punches and looking for the rear-naked choke. With 20 seconds left, Aubin-Mercier slips out the back door. They meet in the center of the cage and the crowd roars as the two swing until the final horn. 10-8 Burns (30-26 Burns).

The Official Result

Gilbert Burns def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Claudia Gadelha vs. Nina Ansaroff

Round 1

Jerin Valel is the referee for this matchup of strawweight contenders. Gadelha comes forward immediately and makes hard contact with her first combination thrown. 30 seconds in, Ansaroff’s nose is reddened by Gadelha’s hard, fast combos. Gadelha grabs a body lock against the fence and after a bit of a struggle, throws Ansaroff to the ground. Ansaroff does a good job of avoiding damage with half guard and an overhook. Gadelha extricates herself, stands over the supine Ansaroff and dives back into her guard behind a huge punch. Gadelha lands a few more strikes before Ansaroff manages to escape back to the feet. 90 second left and Gadelha is getting very much the better of the striking exchanges, when Ansaroff launches a side kick that plunks her squarely in the face. Ansaroff keeps up the pressure, and Gadelha catches a kick, hoisting Ansaroff’s leg far above her head while Ansaroff hops on one foot and keeps throwing punches. They disengage just before the horn. 10-9 Gadelha.

Round 2

Ansaroff appears more confident on the feet, using feints to draw Gadelha out and landing a nasty uppercut. Gadelha drops for a takedown, driving Ansaroff against the fence, but can’t get the taller woman down. Ansaroff is throwing her left jab with authority, feinting and jabbing to keep Gadelha at bay. Halfway through the round, Gadelha pauses to replace her mouthguard, and Valel allows it. When they engage again, it’s Ansaroff still in control. Finally, Gadelha gets her hands on Ansaroff against the fence, picks her up and dumps her. Gadelha looks briefly for a brabo choke, loses it, and settles into Ansaroff’s half guard, throwing short punches to the ribs while looking to pass. With 30 seconds left, Gadelha is still in half guard. She stands at the clapper and looks to drop something big, but it doesn’t happen. 10-9 Ansaroff.

Round 3

The third round opens with Gadelha literally chasing the takedown, but Ansaroff circles away and keeps her distance. The exchanges on the feet are sporadic through the first minute and change, but Ansaroff’s jabs and low kicks are the most telling strikes. Ansaroff’s jabs and straights are snapping Gadelha’s head back. Gadelha is moving forward and throwing, but falling short and bring made to pay by the longer fighter. With two minutes left, Gadelha charges in for a takedown and is denied. The announcing booth claims Gadelha is two for 10 trying to take Ansaroff down, and it feels like it. Ansaroff’s jab has reddened Gadelha’s face from the hairline to the lips. At the 10-second clapper, they are still exchanging. The horn sounds and Ansaroff breaks a smile as the strawweights exchange a high-five. 10-9 Ansaroff (29-28 Ansaroff).

The Official Result

Nina Ansaroff def. Claudia Gadelha via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Jimi Manuwa vs. Thiago Santos

Round 1

Light heavyweight knockout artists Manuwa and Santos kick off the pay-per-view main card, with Todd Anderson overseeing the affair. Santos clips and drops “Poster Boy” with a huge right in the first 10 seconds and swarms with punches, then grabs a front headlock. They disengage and Santos tags Manuwa again, sending him sprawling. Manuwa in all kinds of trouble, but manages to grab hold of the Brazilian. They clinch against the fence. When they break, it’s Manuwa landing a hard shot that briefly wobbles “Marreta.” They exchange at close range, with Santos landing a head kick. Both men are landing huge shots. With 90 seconds left, the action slows, with Santos pressing Manuwa to the fence and throwing knees. The break and Santos throws a wheel kick that misses. With less than a minute left it’s Manuwa who stuns Santos with a punch and has him stumbling away. Manuwa gets him to the floor and elects to ride the round out rather than expend more energy or court danger. Insane round. 10-9 Santos.

Round 2

Manuwa lands a head kick and they clinch. Santos knees him to the gut. Manuwa rushes Santos to the fence and is stunned by a Santos hook. They reverse positions and Santos rocks Manuwa with a left uppercut and a right hook, then absolutely blasts him with a left hook that leaves Manuwa slumped on his hands and knees. Referee Anderson steps in immediately, as Manuwa is done. Sensational finish to a wild fight.

The Official Result

Thiago Santos def. Jimi Manuwa R2 0:41 via KO (Punches)

Hakeem Dawodu vs. Kyle Bochniak

Round 1

Featherweights Dawodu and Bochniak square off with Yves Lavigne refereeing. They set up in orthodox stances and exchange kicks, with Bochniak circling outside. Dawodu throws a spinning hook kick that falls short. Bochniak throws a hard right outside leg kick that spins Dawodu halfway around. Dawodu throws a hard combo to the body; Bochniak counters with a right hook upstairs. Dawodu lands a right of his own that leaves Bochniak’s left eye instantly swollen. With two minutes left, a Dawodu kick strays low, but Bochniak shrugs off the cup check and they continue. Bochniak drops levels for a big takedown. Dawodu springs back up but Bochniak is stuck to him. Dawodu manages to escape and the round ends with them exchanging on the feet. 10-9 Dawodu.

Round 2

Bochniak is again the one in motion to open the second round. Dawodu lands a straight to the body, then another. Dawodu is winning the exchanges so far. Bochniak grabs Dawodu’s leg off a kick and hoists it high as he runs him across the cage. Dawodu goes down, but springs back up instantly. Halfway through the round it’s all Dawodu, with Bochniak coming forward and throwing, but missing and being countered. Bochniak is favoring what may be an injured right hand. In the final minute he presses Dawodu to the fence, but Dawodu shucks him off immediately. He tries again right before the horn, and is rebuffed once more. 10-9 Dawodu.

Round 3

Between rounds, Bochniak’s corner told him bluntly that he’s down two rounds to none and needs a finish. He comes forward immediately, throwing punches and looking to get inside on Dawodu, but there’s nothing for him once he gets there. Bochniak catches another kick and pushes Dawodu to the fence again, and once again is nowhere close to securing a takedown. Dawodu tags Bochniak with a combination, but Bochniak times the next one and plows him to the mat. He settles in Dawodu’s half guard, but when they reach the fence, Dawodu uses it to get to his feet with ease. Bochniak pushes Dawodu to the fence again, which slows the Nigerian-Canadian’s relentless kickboxing assault but accomplishes little else. With a minute to go, Bochniak is backing away and looking discouraged, as Dawodu calmly comes forward and throws body kicks and punch combinations. Dawodu hurts Bochniak with a body kick, then smacks him with a left hook to the face and straight to the body after the clapper. Dominant work from Hakeem Dawodu. 10-9 Dawodu (30-27 Dawodu).

The Official Result

Hakeem Dawodu def. Kyle Bochniak via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)

Gunnar Nelson vs. Alex Oliveira

Round 1

After about as polar-opposite a pair of walkouts as you will ever see in this sport, Oliveira and Nelson get ready to throw down in a high-stakes matchup in the ultra-deep UFC welterweight division. Jerin Valel is the third man in the cage. Nelson hops in and out in his typical karate stance, but springs in and drops for a takedown within seconds. He drives Oliveira to the fence and “Cowboy” punishes him with several hard elbows. Nelson gets a bodylock and hoists Oliveira for what looks to be a huge slam, but is stymied by a blatant fence grab. Referee Valel stops them, warns Oliveira, and restarts them against the fence with Nelson arms around Oliveira. This time Nelson gets him to the ground and goes to work. Halfway through the round, Nelson has him in a deep body triangle, looking for a choke. Incredibly, Oliveira turns inside the triangle, ending up on top, where he start throwing heavy shots. When Nelson releases the triangle, “Cowboy” stands and drops hard standing-to-ground punches. Nelson is calm on his back, but stuck against the fence and eating serious punishment. Nelson is bleeding badly from the nose. Oliveira throws a couple of nasty-sounding punches to the body, when Nelson springs a heel hook attempt, which Oliveira fights until the final horn. Wild, wild round. 10-9 Oliveira.

Round 2

After a first round spent almost entirely on the mat, it’s Oliveira who clinches and rushes Nelson to the fence to open the second. Not much action through the first 90 seconds as Oliveira presses Nelson to the fence. Maybe emboldened by his success on the canvas in the first round, Oliveira is trying to get the takedown, but it’s Nelson who ends up picking up the Brazilian and dumping him, moving immediately to mount. Even in the dominant position, Nelson is measured now. With under two minutes left, referee Valel tells the fighters to work. Nelson is throwing short punches and elbows while scooting up, looking to peel off for an armbar. Nelson throws a right elbow that opens a huge gash on Oliveira’s forehead. In an instant, blood is spraying everywhere. Oliveira turns his back and Nelson cinches up a rear-naked choke. Oliveira is tapping immediately, likely due as much to alarm as the submission hold. Gruesome, stirring finish to a back-and-forth battle.

The Official Result

Gunnar Nelson def. Alex Oliveira R2 4:17 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

UFC Flyweight Title Fight:
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Round 1

The first half of the evening’s title doubleheader features two women with a little history and a lot at stake. Todd Anderson will be the referee. Jedrzeczyk sets up in her orthodox stance against the southpaw Shevchenko, extremely busy with feints and footwork. Shevchenko is much more still, neither throwing feints nor buying on those of her foe. A minute in, Shevchenko steps in, clinches and throws “Joanna Champion” to the canvas with a hip toss. She sets up in Jedrzeczyk’s guard, then passes to side control, maintaining heavy pressure on top while securing a crucifix, but Jedrzeczyk spins out. Shevchenko holds onto a front headlock for a moment, then releases it and they clinch against the fence. They reset on the feet with a minute left. Tense feints and single shots are punctuated by Shevchenko throwing a spinning hook kick which lands. Shevchenko catches a kick and is looking for a takedown at the horn. 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 2

Jedrzeczyk comes forward to start the second round, feinting and throwing jabs and low kicks. Shevchenko throws back with left straights. Halfway through the round, Shevchenko is simply showing no respect for Jedrzeczyk’s strikes, ignoring her feints and stepping in to counter with hard shots when she throws jabs. With 1:45 to go, Jedrzeczyk throws a head kick and Shevchenko steps in behind it, clinches and once again dumps her to the mat, landing in side control. Shevchenko has Jedrzeczyk’s far arm trapped and is dropping short elbows. At the clapper, Jedrzeczyk finally scuttles to the fence and stands, only to be thrown again. The horn sounds. 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 3

Emblematic of how well it’s been going for Shevchanko, the only real advice her corner had between rounds was “Don’t make a mistake.” The round opens with Shevchenko less willing to wait to counter, instead coming forward. Shevchenko throws a spinning back kick that lands squarely and elicits an ooooh from the crowd. Shevchenko is stepping in at will with straight punches and punctuating them with low kicks almost every times. Halfway through the round, Jedrzeczyk’s nose is bloodied. Jedrzeczyk is incredibly game, continuing to come forward and throw. With 30 seconds left, Shevchenko clinches with Jedrzecyk against the fence and throws a high knee on her blind side which lands. The horn sounds a moment later. 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 4

Jedrzeczyk is the aggressor to open the championship rounds, perhaps sensing that she may be behind on the scorecards. Jedrzeczyk lands a nice right straight and is hustled to the fence by Shevchenko, but manages to disengage without being taken down. 90 seconds in, however, Shevchenko gets hold of her and throws her with the same ease. Jedrzeczyk stands, giving up her back in the process, but manages to slip out and briefly threatens to take Shevchenko’s back. Shevchenko lets go and they clinch against the fence, where they engage in an extended sequence of reversing position and throwing occasional strikes. With under a minute to go, they reset in the middle of the Octagon and exchange until the horn. 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 5

The women open up standing in the pocket and exchanging. Jedrzeczyk’s strikes seem to have more snap to them, but Shevchenko clinches and tosses her to the ground. Jedrzeczyk stands quickly and they clinch against the fence. They disengage and return to throwing on the feet. Jedrzeczyk lands a nice hard straight right to the face. With two minutes to go, Jedrzeczyk is landing harder and more often, but winning this round may not be enough to win her the fight. At the one-minute mark, Shevchenko rushes and clinches, pushing Jedrzeczyk to the fence, not taking her down but continuing to run down the clock. The round ends with the women exchanging near the fence. 10-9 Jedrzeczyk (49-46 Shevchenko).

The Official Result

Valentina Shevchenko def. Joanna Jedrzeczyk via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

UFC Featherweight Title Fight:
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega

Round 1

Holloway and Ortega are both grinning as their names are announced. Yves Lavigne will preside over the first undisputed featherweight title fight in UFC history not to involve Jose Aldo. The future of the division is now. They touch gloves. Holloway sets up in an orthodox stance, Ortega switching in and out of orthodox. The initial exchanges are tentative, but Ortega willing to stand in the pocket. A minute in, the Canadian crowd briefly fires up a chant of “Holloway!” Halfway through, Ortega is circling outside while Holloway cuts angles. The “Holloway” chants resume for a moment. A minute later, Ortega steps inside on a combination and drops levels. He gets Holloway down, but the champ quickly escapes to his feet and is shaking his head as they reengage. Holloway is more aggressive in the late going, sticking Ortega with lefts and rights. Ortega goes for another takedown late but is denied. The horn sounds on a very tense Round 1. 10-9 Holloway.

Round 2

Holloway marches forward to open the second round, throwing jabs, straights and a stinging low kick. Through 60 seconds, Holloway is controlling the action on the feet. Ortega is bleeding from the nose. He dives for a takedown and Holloway is nowhere to be found. Holloway appears to have all the momentum, yet Ortega is still there in the pocket, landing counters. Halfway through it’s all Holloway, landing punches with both hands from a variety of angles. Ortega is throwing back but Holloway’s reach, footwork and stamina are beginning to tell. With 30 seconds left, it’s Ortega coming forward, throwing punches, but Holloway evades almost all of them. The horn sounds and Ortega points downward, mouthing “This is my Octagon.” 10-9 Holloway.

Round 3

Ortega comes forward, throwing one-twos. Holloway gives ground, circles and tags Ortega with a counter right. Ortega nails Holloway with a punch that leaves him wobbled, then another. Ortega chases Holloway to the fence, and gets him to the ground. He moves to the back and looks for Holloway’s neck, but Holloway recovers and escapes. They exchange on the feet, with both men landing hard shots, but Ortega looks to have some momentum. With two minutes left, Ortega is clinching with Holloway against the fence. Holloway is landing level elbows at phone-booth range. In the last 30 seconds, it is Ortega coming forward, throwing punches. They finish with Ortega pushing Holloway into the fence. 10-9 Ortega.

Round 4

Holloway comes out southpaw with much more pronounced head movement and makes Ortega miss badly in the first few exchanges. Ortega is game, throwing back, but Holloway starts to throw long five, six and seven-punch combinations. Ortega’s face is a mess, his left eye swollen shut. Ortega looks out of it yet keep throwing back, nailing Holloway every time it looks as though it might be over. At the halfway point, Ortega rushes Holloway and grabs a bodylock but can’t manage to get it to the ground. They clinch against the fence. The crowd chants Holloway’s name. With 90 seconds left, Holloway has busted Ortega up with what feels like 500 punches this round. Ortega briefly attempts to jump guard, but Holloway stays upright. Holloway punishes Ortega’s body some more, attempts to go for the finish, and has a leg grabbed by the Gracie jiu-jitsu prodigy. Holloway wisely disengages. They trade until the horn.

Between rounds, the cageside doctor stops the fight due to the condition of Ortega’s left eye. Max Holloway retains his UFC featherweight title in a sensational performance.

The Official Result

Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega R4 5:00 via TKO (Doctor Stoppage)


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