UFC 231: Holloway vs. Ortega Ongoing Coverage and Highlights

Brian Ortega
Brian Ortega, UFC Lincoln Credit: Mike Straus/Cageside Press

Max Holloway returned to the scene of his first title fight victory at UFC 231 in Toronto, putting his undisputed title on the line against the unbeaten Brian Ortega.

The UFC heads back to Toronto tonight for UFC 231 as Featherweight Champion Max Holloway (19-3) attempts to regain his elite status at featherweight as he takes on Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega (14-0, 1NC). As special as Holloway is and with as many accomplishments as he’s had in his career, Max has been plagued in recent times by a myriad of health issues that have left even UFC President Dana White openly contemplating a move up to 155 pounds.

Can King Max continue pillaging villages and ruining lives at 145lbs? Will he win and challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov at 155lbs, or will Brian Ortega be able to dethrone the 27-year-old King and start his own reign at age 27?

In the co-main event former UFC Strawweight Queen Joanna Jędrzejczyk will attempt to become the first woman to capture belts in two different UFC weight classes as she will battle Valentina Shevchenko for the Women’s Flyweight Championship. These two have fought before — three times in Muay Thai. Fans familiar with Jędrzejczyk might find it shocking that JJ is 0-3 in these fights, though they happened long ago.

Join us @ 10 p.m. EST. to watch all the highlights from the Pay-Per-View main card and catch all the drama at Cagesidepress.com!



Light Heavyweight Bout: Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos

The announcers speculate that Thiago Santos could have a Anthony Rumble-like career resurgence at light heavyweight because he looked way too big at middleweight. He’ll have his hands full tonight as he takes on the ever dangerous Jimi Manuwa.

Round 1: Thiago Santos clips Manuwa early with a right and left and smothers a fallen Manuwa before Jimi recovers and initiates a clinch as the pair settle against the cage.

Santos manages to stumble Manuwa again, but Jimi is able to revert back to the clinch. Jimi is able to land a clean elbow as he breaks the clinch, but Thaigo Santos is a game opponent and each man stays in the picket as the pair trade shots.

The pair trade power shots until Manuwa gets the best of Santos against the cage and gets Santos to circle out before he gets dropped in the center of the octagon.

Even though Jimi Manuwa was rocked early, he got the better of Santos in the latter half of the round and nearly finished him.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Manuwa. Close round. This shouldn’t go the distance.

Round 2: We get right back to business as Manuwa and Santos stand toe-to-toe and unwind heavy shots that are barely missing the mark.

Santos lands a huge hook to the side of Manuwa’s head and Jimi crumples to the canvas as he’s been knocked out cold. A replay shows that Manuwa ate a quick uppercut before the left hook put him to sleep.

Winner: Thiago Santos via TKO in Round 2.

Featherweight Bout: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Kyle Bochniak

Round 1: Hakeem Dawodu has the meanest pre-fight mug I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I wouldn’t want to be across the cage from him. There is no glove touch for this one.

Dawodu keeps Bochniak within striking distance but misses with a spinning kick before resetting. Bochniak keeps switching his stance up and throwing feints, which seems to be giving Dawodu problems, but we’re still in the feeling out process.

Dawodu lands a right of his own that briefly stumbles Bochniak at the 2:15 mark of round 1.

Bochniak scrambles and achieves a takedown with a minute to go, but he can’t keep Dawodu down.

There wasn’t much action that round – close to a 10-10, but we’ll go with Dawodu based on that big strike in the middle of the frame.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Dawodu.

Round 2: Dawodu establishes a strong jab early in the round that gives Bochniak problems – but Bochniak fires back with a quick takedown that he’s unable to maintain.

Dawodu is landing at will at times, but he also gets caught when he lets Bochniak gets on the inside. Joe Rogan is convinced that Bochniak broke his hand… which seems to be confirmed because Kyle’s not really throwing his right hand and he’s only throwing elbows from that side now.

Bochniak is having some success with his left hand though, as he’s landing with the left and even some rights – with that injured hand.

Bochniak hasn’t been in too much danger so far, but he’s falling behind on the scorecards as Dawodu’s just doing more offensively.

Dawodu’s kicks are fear inducing, and Bochniak hasn’t been able to stick a takedown.

Gillette’s scorecard 10-9 Dawodu

Round 3: More of the same in the third round until Bochniak manages to secure a takedown about 2 minutes into the round. His team encourages him to work but Dawodu slowly works his way back to his feet.

Bochniak’s nose is busted but he’s still pushing for takedowns and trying to avoid getting battered on the feet.

Dawodu lands some front kicks to the body in the final 30 seconds and tries to go for a finish in the final 10 seconds but it’s too little, too late.

He was much more effective on his feet throughout the fight, but I would have liked to seen killer instincts from Hakeem Dawodu – he won’t win an extra $50,000 like that.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Dawodu.

Winner: Hakeem Dawodu via Split Decision

Welterweight Bout:  Alex Oliveira vs.  Gunnar Nelson

Round 1: Gunnar Neslon controlled the round early and Alex Oliveira blocked a takedown by grabbing the cage – which promptly led the referee to do absolutely nothing except ‘reset’ the position.

Gunnar Nelson finally gets the takedown and is able to control Oliveira with a body triangle as he looks for Cowboy’s neck. Oliveira manages to break the body triangle and posture up, which leads to Alex landing a barrage of punches and elbows from the top. That was the most significant part of the round.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Oliveira. Though, it should be a 9-9 because Oliveira grabbed the fence.

Round 2: Nelson manages to land a takedown and winds up in full mount, but the referee warns Nelson to work or he’ll take the position away.

Nelson will win this round, but he’s not doing much with this top mount as the referee again wants him to ‘work!’ Nelson finally begins to open Oliveira up in short order as Alex Oliveira starts bleeding like a stuffed pig.

Nelson chokes Cowboy out and the referee immediately calls for a doctor to enter the cage – that’s going to need some stitches.

Winner: Gunnar Nelson via Second Round SUB.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Round 1: Joanna begins throwing feints at Valentina, and Valentina looks liked the much more relaxed competitor at the start of round one.

The two engage and Shevchenko lands a powerful takedown and immediately ends up in side control. Shevchenko lands a powerful elbow but Joanna scrambles to her feet and finds herself in the clinch against the cage.

Valentina looks for an inside trip takedown but misses as JJ lands a knee to Shevchenko’s stomach. The two haven’t separated since they’ve been in this clinch.

Joanna lands a big left hand as the two break apart and reset position.

Valentina lands a powerful turning side kick that wobbles Joanna.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 2: Joanna’s strikes don’t seem to have any pop to them and every shot Valentina lands seems to have significant power.

Both women are nearly equal in significant strikes landed, but Valentina’s kicks and takedowns quickly make you forget.

Valentina lands another takedown and winds up in side control and begins to land elbows that Joanna doesn’t have an answer for.

Joanna works her way back to her feet, but she immediately eats a hard knee the second she’s vertical.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 3: Shevchenko continues to land hard kicks that pop both the crowd and the announcers.

Joanna is landing combinations still, but she’s not doing enough to win the round.

Shevchenko keeps landing head kicks that stun Joanna.

This is like watching Anderson Silva fight past his prime. I find myself hoping that Joanna will catch Shevchenko with something big, but I’m slowly losing hope. Valentina is running away with this fight.

Joanna may be too small for the bigger girls at 125 pounds.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Shevchenko. Joanna needs a finish if she wants to win this fight.

Round 4: Joanna starts to pick up the pace and Valentina just endures what Joanna throws at her for the first minute.

Valentina initiates the clinch to break Joanna’s pace. JJ is looking much better here, but it may be too little, too late if Joanna can’t dig deep and get a finish.

Tally another takedown for Shevchenko. Joanna gives up her back to get back to her feet, but not before being scolded by Joe Rogan.

Joanna looked a lot better in this frame, but it’s hard to give her the round when she got taken down and controlled for an amount of time.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Shevchenko.

Round 5: Shevchenko is gassed, but she’s able to grab onto Joanna and neutralize her offense.

Joanna is trapped against the cage, but she’s staying busy and throwing rabbit punches and the referee quickly obliges her and orders a separation.

Joanna starts to come on strong now, but she’s honestly not throwing anything that could put Shevchenko to sleep – which she needs to do at this point after being down so many rounds.

Shevchenko continues to land as Joanna walks forward to end the fight.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Shevchenko.

Winner: Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision.

Featherweight Bout: Max Holloway (c) vs.  Brian Ortega

Max looks really healthy on fight night and Brian Ortega doesn’t look the least bit nervous as he’s talking along with Bruce Buffer as the Buff announces his name – we’re in for an amazing fight.

Both men touch gloves and revert to their corners. It’s time!

Round 1: Max starts the fight looking for punches to the body that he can’t quite land, while Ortega is putting his elbows up defensively and looking for some jabs to keep Holloway honest.

Max is looking very fluid tonight – he’s in and out like Dominick Cruz, though both fighters have been evasive up to this point.

Holloway lands a 1-2 combo as the crowd chants, “Holl-o-way! Holl-o-way!”

Max rips the body and lands a few more rights. The body is definitely his target… he’ll be taking his time with Ortega tonight.

Ortega lands with some power – but that’s not enough to keep Max off of him long.

Holloway lands with another flurry, but Ortega lands with an elbow that Holloway acknowledges. Max lands a clean right hand and looks like he’s about to go in for the kill – but Ortega lands a takedown!

Max slowly makes his way to his feet and the two have a movie-like showdown.

Max keeps landing and getting loose. Ortega’s missing when he throws – even with that jab he had no trouble throwing a second ago. Holloway lands again and taunts Ortega, who answers with a head kick of his own.

Max Holloway lands some Josh Barnettesque elbows against the cage as Ortega goes for a quick takedown but fails.

The horn sounds and the round comes to a close.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Holloway.

Round 2: As round 2 begins Holloway lands a jab and presses Ortega against the cage. Holloway also goes for a kick, as Felder notes we haven’t seen many kicks from him yet and Rogan mentions cardio is one of Holloway’s biggest strengths.

Holloway is landing clean punching combinations, but Ortega charges forward and looks for a body shot. Holloway is slicing Ortega up with punches and his mouth is wide open as his nose is busted up like a Greaser in the wrong part of town.

Ortega is still in the fight, but Max Holloway is about to put together a 10-8 round with his constant pressure and fluid combinations – even though he’s yet to knock ‘T-City’ down.

Ortega’s a tough kid – but this beating from Max Holloway will do Cain Velasquez/ Junior dos Santos III levels of damage to him if the fight continues at this pace.

Ortega is getting his comeuppance… but he is still in this fight.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-8 Holloway.

Round 3: The crowd is behind Holloway as King Max continues his onslaught. Ortega grabs his nose, which is giving him all kinds of trouble.

Ortega lands combination of his own that stuns Max!

Ortega scrambles and briefly takes Max’s back, but he shakes him off quickly and lands another hook of his own!

We reset, but Ortega charges in and lands a spinning back elbow!

Max lands a big uppercut and Ortega continues to stalk him and walk him down. The volume is still there for Max, but Ortega lands the occasional monster shot to keep Holloway on edge.

Ortega initiates the clinch against the cage as his corner tells him he doesn’t have to rush for takedowns – “Take your time Brian!”

Ortega dons a crimson mask again as Max keeps landing shots – but his don’t quite have the same sting as Ortega’s have, not right now.

Ortega won that round.

Mini Blessed was shown outside the cage in one of the saddest scenes ever… he’s overwhelmed that his hero lost that round.

Gillette’s scorecard: 10-9 Ortega.

Round 4: Holloway tells Rogan he’s going to finish the fight in this round.

Holloway comes out swinging and begins to turn up. Holloway is standing in front of Ortega and landing some of the most amazing combinations ever put together.

Max pours it on and he’s dominating Ortega against the cage. Ortega throws back, but Max is hurting Ortega. Max is putting up video game stats right now.

Ortega retreats and then looks for a takedown that he’s unable to get and then he tries to pull guard thirty seconds later, but he can’t get it.

Max lands dozens of punches at a time and they just keep adding up. The damage Ortega is showing just made Paul Felder yell ‘yo!’

Max looks for a guillotine and then winds up on top a few seconds later, but he stands up… he wants Ortega on his feet.

Max lands a near ten-punch combo and charges Ortega down to end the round. Both of Brian Ortega’s eyes are swollen shut.

That’s it! The Doctors stepped in and stopped the fight!

Gillette’s scorecard: Another 10-8 for Holloway!

Winner: and Still UFC FW Champion – Max Holloway!


That was the most incredible fight in UFC featherweight history. King Max has returned and if he stays in the UFC featherweight division and he can safely cut weight, he’ll be champion for a long, long time.

Max Holloway asks if there is anyone else in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. King Max announces that he’ll stay at 145lbs and defend his title so another King can’t come and take his throne.