Holloway opens as a healthy ‘chalk’ vs. ‘T-City’ Ortega
Published on Thursday, 3/29/18, at 5:17 p.m. Eastern.
Although the promotion hasn’t officially announced it yet, all indications are that featherweight kingpin Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway will defend his strap against No. 1 contender Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega in the UFC 226 co-main event this summer.
The UFC 226 headliner is a superfight between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light-heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier for Miocic’s belt.
The opening odds for Holloway-Ortega were released earlier today by 5Dimes.eu. The offshore website opened Holloway as a -175 favorite, but the number drifted up to -215 within a few hours (risk $215 to win $100 on Holloway).
The undefeated Ortega is +165 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $165).
Ortega became the first fighter to finish Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar in his long and distinguished career when he scored a first-round KO over the former lightweight champ at UFC 222 earlier this month.
The 27-year-old Mexican-American out of Torrance, Calif., is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Rener Gracie. Many consider Ortega’s BJJ skills to be the best possessed by a fighter not named Demian Maia in all of MMA, but it was his stand-up work that was on display in the stunning victory over Ortega.
The fact that Ortega won wasn’t a shocker by any means, but for him to do so by first-round KO over the durable Edgar sent Ortega’s stock soaring. Nevertheless, he finds himself as the underdog again versus Holloway.
Ortega (14-0, 1 no-contest overall, 6-0, 1 NC in the UFC) doesn’t have any problem with the ‘dog role, though. In fact, he’s compiled a 4-0 career record in four such spots.
Ortega has earned four fight-night bonuses in his last three Octagon appearances, taking a pair of Performance of the Night honors along with two Fight of the Night bonuses. His second-round submission win over Cub Swanson was FOTN, as was his third-round submission victory over Renato Moicano.
Holloway became the champ by defeating Jose Aldo via third-round KO at UFC 212 in Rio. Then he defended his strap against Aldo again at UFC 218 in Detroit, prevailing by third-round KO once more.
Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) hasn’t tasted a defeat since dropping a unanimous decision to Conor McGregor at UFC Boston on August 17 of 2013. The Hawaiian was just 21 years old at the time. Since then, he’s ripped off 12 consecutive victories with nine finishes, bagging five fight-night bonuses in the process.