UFC 231: Holloway vs. Ortega Fight Pass Preliminary Card Results and Recap

Chad Laprise fought at UFC 213
Credit: Josh Schaefer/Sherdog.com

UFC 231’s early action included a pair of Ultimate Fighter winners in Chad Laprise and Brad Katona, looking to win big on home turf.

Saturday night, the UFC returned to Toronto after two years away, and once again, brought Max Holloway with them. Returning to the scene of his interim featherweight championship win, Holloway was now the established, undisputed champion. Calling Toronto the “tenth island,” the Hawaiian native was set to defend his belt against the surging Brian Ortega at UFC 231.

That title fight was one of two on the card, as Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk renewed a rivalry rooted in their Muay Thai days as they clashed for the UFC’s vacant flyweight crown. With a win, Jedrzejczyk would become the first female two-division champion in UFC history. Shevchenko, on the other hand, was looking to claim UFC gold for the first time, after the title eluded her in the bantamweight division.

While the two title fights boosted the PPV card, the early action brought a selection of newcomers and veterans to the Air Canada Centre Scotiabank Arena. Ultimate Fighter 27 winner and Canada’s own Brad Katona anchored the featured slot on the UFC Fight Pass prelims Saturday, taking on Matthew Lopez. Lopez represented a couple of years worth of UFC experience, but was coming off back-to-back losses. A solid test for the recent TUF winner.

Prior to that, another Canadian Ultimate Fighter winner was in the octagon, as Chad Laprise faced Dhiego Lima in welterweight action. Lima, brother of former Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima, is notable as probably the only fighter to make the finals of two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter — and lose both.

Devin Clark vs. Aleksandar Rakić

Light heavyweight action kicked off the UFC 231 card, and Aleksander Rakic kicked off the fight with a kick. He paid for the attempt via an overhand punch from Clark, which rocked Rakic. That led to a grappling exchange, but Clark would again rock Rakic closer to the middle of the round. Rakic would ground himself with both hands (Ontario has not adopted the new Unified Rules), only for Clark to land a punishing series of knees anyway. Clark may not have been aware Rakic was grounded, and the ref failed to intervene. Rakic would recover and reverse position, but he’d been rocked twice. His kicks, however, had been taking their toll on Clark’s lead leg. Then came the momentum shift. With Clark on the attack, Rakic landed a back fist. Not a spinning attack, mind you, a straight back fist. Clark went down, Rakic pounced and unloaded with ground n’ pound, and this time, the ref was paying attention.

Aleksandar Rakic def. Devin Clark by TKO, Round 1, 4:05

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Kyle Nelson

Lightweight Kyle Nelson stepped up short notice to face Brazil’s Carlos Diego Fereira at UFC 231, and impressively made weight despite signing on for the fight just days earlier. It was Nelson who connected first with a check hook, and while Ferriera would land a moment later, a right hand connected for Nelson. Another seconds later would hurt Ferreira; Nelson would attack the body, winding his opponent, and wobble the Brazilian again. Ferriera tried to lure the Canadian to the ground, but he was having none of it. However, Nelson would slow as the round progressed, not surprising given the lack of a fight camp. He’d land another solid right hand, wobbling Ferreira again, and forcing the Brazilian to shoot a takedown. Ferreira then began working on a kimura, and when that failed, simply switched to ground n pound. Ferreira would move to mount in a scramble, coming close to finishing, but the newcomer Nelson would survive the round.

Ferreira came out swinging and light on his feet in the second, but quickly landed a takedown on Nelson, who looked more than a little flat-footed. Ferreira moved to mount in due course, and landed blows as Nelson covered up, forcing the stoppage.

Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson by TKO, Round 2, 1:23

Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima

Chad Laprise immediately backed Dhiego Lima up against the fence in their early welterweight battle. The Canadian opened with a leg kick, and would go back to the move several times. Lima used his lateral movement and stance switches to evade Laprise’s attacks, and while Laprise was moving in on the offensive, Lima dropped him! A left hook that led to a walk-off KO for Dhiego Lima.

Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise by knockout, Round 1, 1:37

Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez

TUF 27 winner Brad Katona was looking for his first win since the series finale when he took on Matthew Lopez in the featured fight of the UFC 231 Fight Pass prelims. As the action got underway, Lopez caught a Katona kick and landed a right hand. Katona circled on the outside, while Lopez sought to counter. Lopez would find success with his right hand, but Katona was able to land a right of his own. Katona’s low kicks were looking effective, but he struggled to close the distance at times. Lopez was reaching as well, something his corner very audibly chastised him over. As the final minute of the round arrived Katona went to the body, and Lopez returned fire upstairs with a left. It was Lopez finishing the round strong with a takedown in the final twenty seconds.

Round two saw Lopez catch a kick again, and dump Katona on his back. Katona, however, quickly popped back up. The led to some back-and-forth on the feet, with Lopez working his jab and some leg kicks, among other attacks. Katona looked to be the fresher fighter as the round progressed, and he began mixing up his kicks, going both low and high on Lopez, who seemed to be slowing. His punches were a little sloppy, and in the final minute, Katona began pulling ahead.

Heading to the third round for the first time on the UFC 231 card, Katona was poised to take control of the fight via superior conditioning. Lopez was noticeably flat on his feet. Katona moved in-and-out with his punches, scoring with his right hand. Lopez was still in it, landing a left, trying to slip Katona’s attacks. Yet as the round wore on, his mouth was open, and he was breathing deeper. Katona, comparatively, was dancing around him. Then, in the final seconds, Katona landed a takedown, a few blows, and sunk in a quick rear-naked choke! He didn’t have hooks in, instead trapping an arm, and the bell sounded, but Lopez appeared to be out! When Katona released the hold, Lopez slumped forward then stumbled around the octagon for a moment. Yet the ref opted to go to the scorecards, not that it changed much.

Brad Katona def. Matthew Lopez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Check back come fight time (6PM EST) for full results and a recap of all the early action from UFC 231!

UFC 231 Fight Pass Preliminary Results:

Brad Katona def. Matthew Lopez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise by knockout, Round 1, 1:37
Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson by TKO, Round 2, 1:23
Aleksandar Rakic def. Devin Clark by TKO, Round 1, 4:05