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UFC 231 fight card primer: Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega

UFC 231 is headlined by a highly anticipated Featherweight title fight when Max Holloway faces Brian Ortega.

This Saturday, UFC 231 is headlined by a Featherweight title fight as champion Max Holloway (19-3 MMA; 15-3 UFC) defends his belt against Brian Ortega (14-0(1) MMA; 6-0(1) UFC). The UFC rankings have Ortega as the division’s #1 contender, while champion Holloway currently sits at #5 on the pound for pound list. UFC 231: Holloway vs. Ortega airs live from Toronto this Saturday night, December 8. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1 and 6:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 226 in July alongside the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier Heavyweight title fight. Holloway pulled out of the fight just a few days before with medical issues, and the fight was scrapped. Ortega has opted to sit things out since, waiting for the champion to return and claim his title shot.

How do these two stack up?

Holloway: 27 years old | 5’11” | 69” reach
Ortega: 27 years old | 5’8” | 69” reach

What have these two done recently?

Holloway: W - Jose Aldo (TKO) | W - Jose Aldo (TKO) | W - Anthony Pettis (TKO)
Ortega: W - Frankie Edgar (KO) | W - Cub Swanson (Sub) | W - Renato Moicano (Sub)

How did these two get here?

Max Holloway is in the midst of a pretty amazing run through the UFC Featherweight division. He’s undefeated since a 2013 loss to Conor McGregor, and has now won 12 in a row. He won the interim title against Pettis, moved to full champ by unifying with Aldo, then cemented that status with another win over Aldo. At the same time, he seems to have lost a lot of his momentum. The first Aldo fight was in June 2017. Since then, he’s fought just once in the rather perfunctory-feeling Aldo rematch. He’s also pulled out of fights three times, against Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Ortega.

Brian Ortega may not be an actual Gracie, but he’s modern MMA’s best representative of the first family of MMA. The Rener Gracie protege has used his high level submission skills to great success, staying undefeated in his 8 year pro career, with 7 of his 14 wins coming via submission. He’s shown a great ability to stay in a fight and dangerous until the very end, with four straight 3rd round finishes in the UFC. In his last fight, he revealed a new aspect of his game, as he knocked Frankie Edgar out in a very surprising finish.

Why should you care?

This is a great fight between two supremely skilled and very exciting athletes. It’s going to be great.