Max Holloway hammers Brian Ortega on his way to TKO at UFC 231


TORONTO (AP) – Champion Plume Max (Blessed) Holloway, who returned from a troubled year, was dominant in stopping Nigerian candidate Brian (T-City) Ortega for TKO at UFC 231 on Saturday night.

The fight was canceled by the doctor after four rounds. Ortega's left eye was nearly closed, the face of a bloody mask. It is a testament to Ortega's hardness that he has come so far.

The champion's outstanding skills were too much for Ortega. The challenger, who recovered in the third, failed to overthrow Holloway or use his jiu-jitsu.

Holloway improved to 20-3-0 while Ortega dropped to 14-1-0 with a no-contest.

Valentina (Bala) Shevchenko, a native of Kyrgyzstan battling out of Peru, overcame a game but overcame Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland for the vacant women's flyweight title in the main event of the Scotiabank Arena.

Shevchenko won by unanimous decision of five rounds (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).

"I've been waiting so long for this moment," said Shevchenko, 30.

Ortega, the No. 1 candidate and blackjack jiu-jitsu, entered the arena to the sound of "X Gon" Give It To Ya "by DMX. The Blessed Express came next, when Holloway, from Hawaii, left for "Game Over". by Lil 'Flip and then "Hawaiian Kickboxer" by Moke Boy.

The five round fight started at 12:38 ET.

The crowd began to sing "Holloway, Holloway" as the two circled each other. Ortega scored with counter-punches when the champion stepped forward and connected with an elbow. A relaxed Holloway began to find his impressive distance and dropped a fall when the round ended.

Ortega's nose began to bleed profusely in the second as Holloway punched. Another downfall was rejected and Holloway provoked the challenger. The two exchanged words after a dominant Holloway round.

Ortega returned in the third, connected with punches and almost knocked Holloway to the ground. The crowd began to sing the T-City. Holloway retaliated with punishment blows as Ortega's face continued to leak blood.

When Ortega connected, Holloway nodded as if to give him accessories. Ortgea has shown that he can punch.

Holloway danced in the bedroom and then hammered Ortega into the fence. He knocked him out later in the round as punishment continued.

Holloway, 27, has won his last 12 bouts since the August 2013 defeat by decision to Conor (The Notorious) McGregor.

It was the champion's first fight since December 2, 2017 due to various health problems.

The two 145-pound riders were originally scheduled for UFC 226 in July, but Holloway was forced to withdraw at the last minute because of what were thought to be "concussion-like symptoms."

An ankle injury forced Holloway out of a March fight against former lightweight champion Frankie (The Answer) Edgar at UFC 222. Ortega filled by Holloway, winning by spectacular TKO in the first round.

Holloway also missed a short fight with current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April (after Tony Ferguson withdrew with a knee injury), backing off during the weight cut.

The solitary defect in Ortega's record, 27, was a 2014 win over Mike de la Torre, which was changed to a no contest after a positive test for steroid drostanolone. The California native was suspended for nine months and fined $ 2,500.

Ortega apologized for the failed test, saying he took the medication to help with weight-loss.

Jedrzejczyk (15-3-0) and Shevchenko (16-3-0) campaigned in different weight classes. Jedrzejczyk retained the weight title up to 115 pounds by September 2017 when she was beaten by Rose (Thug) Namajunas in Edmonton. Shevchenko lost a split decision to the Brazilian Amanda (the lioness) Nunes in November 2017 for the bantamweight crown at 135 pounds.

Saturday night they met in the middle with 125 pounds.

Shevchenko looked bigger and bulkier, taking Jedrzejczyk within a minute of the fight. Jedrzejczyk got up again, but had difficulty evaluating his attack distance earlier.

While trying to find him, Shevchenko was content to answer. Shevchenko shrunk Jedrzejczyk on the ground in the second, got lateral control and caused damage when the round ended.

Shevchenko reached Jedrzejczyk's third bloody nose. Jedrzejczyk was knocked back into the room.

The main card opened with a bang as Brazilian Thiago, a former midfield midfielder, stopped Manuwa's Jimi from Poster Manuwa, ranked No. 9 among the heavyweights in the second round of a 205-pound wild slugfest. who had the crowd roaring.

The first round was five minutes of turmoil with both fighters in and out of trouble. Santos (20-6-0) picked up Manuwa on the wall early in the second round and continued beating until Manuwa (17-4-0) dropped and the referee stepped in 41 seconds in the round.

Santos, who has a tattooed sledgehammer on his chest, is now 12-5 in the UFC with 10 knockouts.

"I feel great since I went up to 205," he said. "This is my division and I will be the champion."

Calgary penalty (average) Hakeem Dawodu the lone Canadian in the main card, won a split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27) over American Kyle (Crash) Bochniak.

"I was very surprised when they announced a split decision," Dawodu said, echoing the sentiments of many observers.

"I won the victory and I felt dominant doing it, so that's all I can ask for," he added.

The strategic struggle, almost entirely on his feet, had the misfortune to come after the Santos-Manuwa fight – a difficult act to follow. But Dawodu improved to 2-1 in the UFC with a controlled performance that bled Bochniak.

The Canadians went 2-3 on the undercard with Elias (The Spartan) Theodorou and Brad (Superman) Katona both winning decisions. Kyle (The Monster) Nelson, Chad (The Disciple) Laprise and Olivier Aubin-Mercier lost.

Iceland's Gunnar (Gunni) Nelson, ranked 14th among the middleweights, showed his elite fighting skills by stopping No. 13 Alex (Cowboy) Oliveira from Brazil.

Wearing his trademark cowboy hat, the lucky Oliver (19-5-1 with two no-contest) high fans and danced his way to the cage. His mood – and face – changed in the second round, when Nelson (17-3-1) took it down, rode it, carved it with his elbows and then locked a lion-blocker to finish at 4:17.

Nelson ties Chris Lytle to most of the submissions in the UFC's midfield history with six.

He marked the UFC's first visit to Toronto since UFC 206 in December 2016 when Holloway defeated Anthony (Showtime) Pettis for the provisional UFC featherweight title. He then eliminated Jose Aldo to unify the title.


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