ULTIMATE Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway makes his Octagon return this weekend after being inactive for a year, taking on number one contender Brian “T-City” Ortega in the headlining title fight at “UFC 231” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Happening at the Scotiabank Arena on Sunday (Manila time), Mr. Holloway (19-3) will defend his title for the second time and is looking to succeed against a tough opponent in the unbeaten Ortega (14-0).
American Holloway last fought in December last year, doubling up on erstwhile champion Jose Aldo.
He won by technical knockout in the third round (punches) to successfully defend his title.
Mr. Holloway had an extended break from the UFC after he was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms early this year, postponing his fight with Mr. Ortega which was supposed to happen in July.
His opponent, Ortega, meanwhile, is coming off a first-round knockout victory over UFC legend Frankie Edgar in March this year.
It was a continuation of his steady ascent in the division, earning a shot at the title in the process.
His last three fights, all by stoppage, including against Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano previously, had earned Performance and/or Fight of the Night honors.
For local combat sports writer and observer Mike Miguel, UFC 231 as featuring the top featherweights in mixed martial arts right now is very intriguing and worth taking notice.
“In UFC 231 people will get to finally see the top featherweights finally go at it after the July incident. This should be an intriguing matchup style-wise. It is also going to be interesting to see if Holloway has recovered from the concussion-like symptoms he suffered leading up to their supposed UFC 226 bout. If a healthy Holloway shows up this weekend, we can expect the ‘Blessed’ era to continue on,” said Mr. Miguel, who writes for RealFight.ph, when asked by BusinessWorld for his thoughts on the main event of UFC 231.
Serving as co-main event for UFC 231 is the women’s flyweight title fight between Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Other fights on the main card are light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa versus Thiago Santos, welterweight Alex Oliveira against Gunnar Nelson, and featherweight Hakeem Dawodu vs. Kyle Bochniak.
UFC 231: Holloway vs Ortega will be shown live on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. over Hyper Ch. 91 in SD or 261 in HD on Cignal TV with encore showing at 7 p.m. on the same day.
In the Philippines, Cignal TV, the country’s foremost direct-to-home (DTH) company, is the home of the UFC after the two groups agreed to an extensive deal that will see the UFC beamed on various platforms. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo