It’s been in the works for some time, and now it’s finally a done deal.
UFC officials confirmed on Monday (following a report from SportsCentre in Canada) that a featherweight title bout between champion Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will serve as the main event for UFC 231 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 226, but Holloway was forced off the card due to unexplained “concussion-like symptoms.”
Holloway (19-3) has had a very difficult 2018. In addition to the UFC 226 hospitalization, Holloway withdrew from a title bout vs. Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 due to injury, and when he stepped in on short notice to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, he was removed from the event on weigh-in day because of a difficult weight cut. His last appearance inside the Octagon saw him TKO Jose Aldo at UFC 218, marking the second time in as many fights that he defeated the great Brazilian in the third-round.
Ortega (14-0, 1 NC) seized the opportunity to get a title shot when he fought Edgar on short notice at UFC 222, stunning the MMA world by knocking the former lightweight champ out in the opening round. “T-City” did not remain on UFC 226 when Holloway pulled out, despite the UFC’s want of booking him in an interim title bout vs. Jeremy Stephens. The move paid off, as he remains in his #1 contender spot and ready to take on the Hawaiian in what is the first undisputed UFC featherweight title fight to not involve Jose Aldo.
Also confirmed for this event is a light heavyweight bout between Thiago Santos and Jimi Manuwa, which was supposed to take place at last week’s UFC Fight Night in Sao Paulo, only for Manuwa to miss out with an injury. Santos instead took on Eryk Anders, whom he defeated by TKO, and now Anders is going to be returning on that card to fight Elias Theodorou, in what is a middleweight clash.
UFC 231 takes place at the Scotiabank Arena on Saturday, December 8th. The co-main event is for the vacant women’s flyweight title, as former strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Valentina Shevchenko.