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UFC 231: Holloway vs Ortega


Who wins and how?   

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The two title fights on this card really are immense. Cream of the crop stuff. The absolute best in their divisions, meeting at what is still inside all of their primes (depending on Max's health issues being resolved, and I don't think JJ has lost a step just yet, more that Rose had her number). Between these fights, Jones Vs Gusty and Whittaker Vs Gastelum, we have a lot of top line fights coming up between fighters that you would think are still at the peak of their powers. Getting a fights like these to line up a few times a year is difficult, but here we have several of them in the space of two months. I'm certainly excited for it. 

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18 hours ago, WeeAl said:

The two title fights on this card really are immense. Cream of the crop stuff. The absolute best in their divisions, meeting at what is still inside all of their primes (depending on Max's health issues being resolved, and I don't think JJ has lost a step just yet, more that Rose had her number). Between these fights, Jones Vs Gusty and Whittaker Vs Gastelum, we have a lot of top line fights coming up between fighters that you would think are still at the peak of their powers. Getting a fights like these to line up a few times a year is difficult, but here we have several of them in the space of two months. I'm certainly excited for it. 

Me too, man. I'm almost as excited for this as I was for McG/Khabib. The main event is a beast, and I'm looking forward to seeing Gusty and Joanne again too. It's gonna be great. It's one of the best cards they've put on for a while. Get in!

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19 hours ago, WeeAl said:

Between these fights, Jones Vs Gusty and Whittaker Vs Gastelum, we have a lot of top line fights coming up between fighters that you would think are still at the peak of their powers. Getting a fights like these to line up a few times a year is difficult, but here we have several of them in the space of two months. I'm certainly excited for it. 

January 26th looks insane as well with Bellator and UFC running head to head. 

- Funky Ben vs Lawler

- Fedor vs Bader

- Mousasi


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If Holloway is the same Max that fought Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo, then I see him as the more complete fighter, who should win most of the rounds by landing more shots than Ortega does. Ortega always has the possibility of winning a fight that he is losing, right at the very death with a hail Mary submission, and God knows how much better he can get than we have even seen up to now. The story of this fight I think is going to be more about Max's health and his weight cut. Are those issues from the summer ok now or not? Do they flare up again when he gets deep in the weight cut? I think this is Max's last fight at 145 no matter what happens. If Max is healthy, I'm saying he'll beat T-City by death of 1000 cuts. If there is more going on than we know. . . Then Ortega wins inside the distance.

Valentina Vs Joanna is interesting because you have a 135'er and a 115lb fighter meeting in the middle. What means more, not being depleted by moving up, or potentially being larger by moving down? Joanna didn't look smaller to me at the staredowns, and I expected her too. Jonna's cardio never really looked to be an issue at 115 to me, in fact she seemed to get stronger as the fights went on. Not going through a tough weight cut should help the ability to absorb and recover from strikes though, I would guess.

This is bound to be a stand up fight. Joanna is going to be the aggressor and Valentina will look to counter. Joanna may land more, but I'm guessing Valentina lands the heavier, more damaging shots. Maybe I'll be surprised though and Valentina looks to put Joanna on her back. I see it being a close fight, closer than the bookies have it, but I'm still edging towards Valentina Schevchenko. 

Final predictions for tomorrow night:

Holloway by decision.

Valentina by decision.

Santos by KO. 

Bochniak by decision. 

Oliviera by KO/TKO.

Gadelha by decision.

Anders by KO/TKO.


Edited by WeeAl
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Is Holloway vs Ortega actually happening then? It’s a fight I’ve been looking forward to pretty much all year but I haven’t really wanted talk much about it this time because every time I get excited about it something bad happens. Hopefully we get past this weigh in and it finally goes ahead because on paper it’s about as good as MMA gets in 2018. It really is. 

Shevchenko vs Jedrzejczyk is getting slept on as well. Tremendous fight. I’m struggling to think of a womens fight that’s been of a higher level for pure skills. Cyborg vs Holm from last year is the only one that matches it for me, but as a matchup I still prefer this. With Shevchenko vs Jedrzejczyk and Cyborg vs Nunes happening within weeks of each other, it’s really raising the bar for the womens game. The rest are going to have to look at those four women and realise they’ll need to up their game in 2019 to keep up.

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Sweet. I was never really in doubt that Shevchenko vs Jedrzejczyk would go ahead. I don’t recall either of those two ever pulling out of a fight, proper iron women. It’s Holloway I’ve been worried about. If things went to plan then we’d have already seen him fight Edgar in March and Ortega in July already this year. And of course he briefly jumped in to fight Khabib in April before being pulled out. He’d probably be gearing up for a Moicano or even a fight at 155 now if his health had held up. Instead he’s been out all year. It’s a real shame as well because the timing couldn’t be much worse. Coming off a 2017 where he went 2-0 with 2 stoppages over Jose Aldo, this should’ve been a big year for him that set him up for legacy and money fights. Hopefully he’s good to go and fully fit and healthy this time. 

One thing I keep seeing is people saying he should move up to 155. Now clearly he struggles making 145 so I’m all for him possibly moving up after this fight. But do we know that his health issues and past pullouts are definitely even down to the weight cut? I mean it can’t help cutting the weight but the July fight was cancelled due to his concussion symptoms. Whatever happens against Ortega tomorrow night, I think I would like to see him just go up to lightweight. And I suppose it’s possible that the weight cutting and concussion issues are linked anyway because if he’s cutting a lot of weight in camp and then sparring while dehydrating himself that’s not good for the brain. Just seems like he might need to switch something up in 2019. Whether that’s a change in weight class or training methods or what, clearly something needs addressing because he should be in his prime now and he’s having to pull out time after time, and not even through the usual pre-fight injuries. It’s stuff he can prevent with a smarter approach. Hope he figures it out. Big fan of Holloway and he seems a good guy. 

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47 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

feels like the buzz for Holloway/Ortega died when Holloway pulled out the last time, think its dampened the anticipation here, but the fucker is happening.

It definitely hurt it a bit but, sadly, I don’t think Holloway vs Ortega was ever a fight that would create a lot of buzz on a wide scale. To the casual MMA watcher, these guys who don’t talk a bunch of shit and smash buses up and stuff are boring. No doubt the fight falling off in July didn’t help but I don’t remember a great deal of hype back then either. It’s like when someone like Lomachenko or Usyk fights, if you know these guys you know they’re must-see but they just don’t create buzz beyond the people who are already hooked in. 

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Just caught up on everything, watched the Weigh In and, barring something stupid happening at the eleventh hour, it looks like this is actually happening. 


It’s fight day but is it still too early to get excited about Holloway vs Ortega yet? Are we allowed now? They’ve weighed in and faced off now so this fight should finally be going ahead this time. Absolutely buzzing for this now. This is what Dana White and Joe Rogan and those guys used to talk about years ago when they used to say that in years to come you’d see young fighters come up who weren’t coming in with a background in one discipline, they’d be training the actual sport of MMA from day one. These two are a product of that. Young but experienced. Smart fighters but willing to throw caution to the wind when needed. Technical but wild. Good at everything and dangerous everywhere. This is such a difficult fight to call. I can’t split them. Anyone with a strong opinion one way or another is really just going on gut feeling or rooting for ‘their guy’. They’re both so good you can’t really be overly confident either way here. My initial thinking was that it’s Ortega’s time. It seems to be the way a lot of people are thinking and there might be something to it. The way he swatted aside Frankie fucking Edgar like he was nothing in March was breathtaking. He’s insanely talented. But I don’t know. Holloway is a machine. He’s non-stop, puts a pace on like few I’ve ever seen in MMA and he gets the job done time and time again. To take apart Aldo the way he did, twice, is something special. And Aldo’s shown since that he’s not anywhere near as shot as people were making out. The run Holloway’s been on has been incredible. I think people are overlooking that because he’s been out this year and Ortega’s the new flavour of the month at 145. I’m struggling to pick a winner here. For all that’s made of Holloway and the weight cut, I thought he looked better this week than he usually does on fight week, he was mega fired up at the weigh in and I actually think the time out might’ve been more of a benefit than a hinderance, especially when it comes to the concussion symptoms. He’s looked rejuvenated to me this week. On the flipside, Ortega is a beast and the momentum seems to be more on his side. Ridiculously hard to call, this one. 

Fuck it, I’ll have Ortega by submission. Don’t really know what I’m basing that on because Holloway hasn’t come close to being subbed since the Poirier loss all those years ago in his UFC debut. But Ortega has that kind of ability on the ground to pull shit off. Even when he’s losing. He’s always got that x-factor. Ortega’s submission threat is the grappler’s equivalent of the Deontay Wilder KO punch. He can be down on the cards but he’s always got that in the holster. Plus, when you have to split hairs, there is still going to be concern on Holloway given his health issues this year. Won’t be at all shocked if Holloway wins. But if I had to pick a winner I’d say I’m very slightly giving Ortega the nod. Just about though, I’m like 51/49 on it but there’s just enough doubt where Holloway is concerned. Whatever happens I’m expecting a hell of a fight.


Shevchenko vs Jedrzejczyk is another fight I can’t wait to see. Like the main event, I’m a huge fan of both of these two so it’s more about just sitting back and enjoying a great fight than rooting for one or the other. Shevchenko looked a complete monster in her flyweight debut earlier this year. I covered it in the OP but she really did destroy Priscilla Cachoeira. And Cachoeira was undefeated going in. Shev just went in and basically said ‘fuck you and fuck your unbeaten record’ and annihilated her. No-one’s heard a peep from Cachoeira since. Jedrzejczyk bounced back from the Namajunas losses to outpoint Tecia Torres in July on FOX. She looked decent, wasn’t her best showing but it was a win at a time when she badly needed one. The interest with Joanna here for me is how she looks at 125. She looked and sounded so much better at the weigh in and just in general this week. The cut to 115 looked rough on her and I think it might’ve been partly why she didn’t look the force she once was in her last few strawweight outings. I think flyweight is a much better weight for her, but debuting at the weight against fucking Shevchenko might be a mistake. 

I’m going with Shevchenko by decision. I find this a slightly easier call than the main event. Might be wrong to feel that way but we’ll see. I hope it’s a war. The flyweight division has had a lot of criticism already and hasn’t got off to the best of starts with the whole Nicco Montano situation. A great fight here would be a real positive for the division. I just feel like Shev’s going to be too strong and too much of a beast here. She is 3-0 over Jedrzejczyk in Muay Thai and a lot has been made of that but I’m not so much basing it on that as that was about a decade ago and a different sport. But I just think Shevchenko is too much animal for any of these girls at 125. I think it’s the absolute ideal weight class for her and she’s coming down from 135 while Joanna is coming up from 115. I just think the physicality of Shev is going to be hard for JJ to overcome. I also think Shevchenko is slightly more well rounded and I think she might be in Joanna’s head a bit too. Obviously she’s 3-0 over her already. Joanna is strong mentally but that’s got to have some psychological effect. You can see it as well. Joanna is usually so aggressive in the build up to her fights. She’s usually talking shit, mean mugging, getting in her opponent’s face at the weigh in etc. None of that here. Barely heard anything from her and she was all smiley and very respectful at the weigh in. There was no getting in Shevchenko’s face at all. First time I’ve seen Jedrzejczyk like that and I think it’s because she knows those intimidation tactics won’t work on Shevchenko. 


Alex Oliveira vs Gunnar Nelson should be a good one. Oliveira doesn’t do dull fights and Gunnar is fantastic to watch when he’s in with the right opponent. Oliveira seems like the right opponent for every style. Gunnar has been out ages so that could be a factor. He looks in the best shape of his career to me though. He’s clearly coming back motivated and with a point to prove. If it winds up as a ground fight you’d favour Gunnar but Cowboy is no joke himself. 

I’m going to say Gunnar by submission but it’s another tough call. This card is full of well matched fights. Could easily see Oliveira catching him on the feet. He’s a wildman and the momentum is definitely with him. But I think Gunnar gets it done. 


Hakeem Dawodu vs Kyle Bochniak could be the surprise show stealer. There’s a reason this got bumped from Fight Pass all the way up to PPV. Both have an exciting style to watch. I’d say Dawodu looks the better striker but Bochniak is game as fuck. He showed against Zabit that he’s really tough will try to walk through fire to land something. Could see this being FOTN.

Dawodu by KO/TKO for me. Just think he’s sharper and faster. He’s more likely to land the killshot in the exchanges so I fancy him to win.  


Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos opens up the PPV. Talk about a fight being slept on. I think everyone forgot this was happening. It was supposed to headline the São Paulo Fight Night in September but Manuwa got injured. This can’t go the distance surely. And again, another fight that’s pretty much 50/50. It’s one of those ‘whoever lands first’ fights. Both throw with serious heat. 

Leaning slightly towards a Santos KO but fuck knows really. It’s one of them. Just think Santos is in slightly better form right now and Manuwa is pushing 40 now and been on the wrong end of a couple of bad knockouts.


So full predictions;

Brian Ortega by submission.

Valentina Shevchenko by decision. 

Gunnar Nelson by submission. 

Hakeem Dawodu by KO/TKO. 

Thiago Santos by KO/TKO. 

Cláudia Gadelha by decision. 

Olivier Aubin-Mercier by decision. 

Jessica Eye by decision. 

Eryk Anders by KO/TKO. 

Brad Katona by decision.

Chad Laprise decision. 

Carlos Diego Ferreira by submission.

Aleksandar Rakic by KO/TKO.


Can’t believe they’ve buried Rakic on Fight Pass again. What the fuck? One of the brightest young prospects in a 205 division that badly needs them highlighting and they keep giving him the opening match curtain jerk duties. His fight should’ve at least been on the FS1 bit, and was until they reshuffled. 

Oh well. Brilliant looking card this. As much as I love having someone to cheer for or root against, sometimes it’s nice to not have a dog in the race and just enjoy the fights. Like I said, I’m a big fan of all four fighters at the top of this card. I’ll be happy whoever wins but a bit gutted for whoever loses regardless. Two really great fights though. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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