By: George Fraser
Max “Blessed” Holloway (19-3) is set to defend his featherweight title against undefeated Rener Gracie prodigy Brian “T City” Ortega (14-0) this Saturday at the Scotiabank Arena, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
It can be argued that this is one of the most intriguing feather-weight title fights to ever take place, yet the UFC marketing machine seems to be out of service for the time being. Maybe their skeptical that Holloway will make it to the fight, due to him missing his last date with Ortega and being deemed unfit to compete after valiantly stepping up to fight Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.
Regardless here’s what we know about the challenger, he’s a dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt with the ability to lock onto a fight ending submission at any time of the fight. His submission of Cub Swanson was incredible how he re-set that guillotine attempt after his initial attempt was unsuccessful was stunning. In his previous outing he was clearly outclassed by Frankie Edgar but pulled off another enigmatic finish making him the first man to ever finish “The Answer”.
Skeptics look at Ortega’s past and point to the failed USADA drug test or the ill-advised takedown by “Moicano”. Of which resulted in a gift submission in a fight he was clearly outclassed in on the feet by the Brazilian. The story of Ortega is following a common theme get outclassed on the feet than pull off something miraculous. Before Sage Northcutt the youngest active fighter in the UFC was Max Holloway. Max Holloway is a complete mixed martial artist, his two fights with Aldo are criminally underrated (Go back and watch them seriously). He brings so much violence into the cage as he absorbs strikes and gradually overwhelms his opponents.
Holloway’s only loses are too Connor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and a controversial split decision to Dennis Bermudez. If we take away the split decision were left with the loses to McGregor and Poirier, the fight with McGregor is hard to quantify, but simply put it was a stand-up contest where the better striker won. The Poirier fight was Holloways fourth professional fight and UFC debut, Poirier was able to ground him with a double and submit him with a triangle armbar from mount, marking the only time he was ever finished.
Holloway won’t make any crucial mistakes that give Ortega a chance to finish the fight. Ortega will have some moments in the early rounds were the crowd thinks he’s latched on to something, but a finish will not come. Ortega can throw up a Hail Mary at any point of this fight, but the odds of that working against a fighter of Holloway’s status are abysmal. Look for Holloway to begin to break Ortega in the in the third round. The pick is Holloway by TKO in the fifth.