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UFC 231 live blog: Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega

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Max Holloway and Brian Ortega
Max Holloway faces off with Brian Ortega ahead of their featherweight championship main event bout at UFC 231 on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

TORONTO — This is the UFC 231 live blog for Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega, a featherweight championship bout at Saturday’s UFC event at Scotiabank Arena.

Holloway, the reigning champion at 145 pounds who has won his last 12 bouts, faces Ortega, an unbeaten fighter who has won all six of his UFC bouts (excluding one no contest) by knockout or submission, in the main event.

Check out the UFC 231 live blog below.

Round 1: Yves Lavigne will be the third man in the cage for this featherweight championship bout. Holloway pops Ortega with a jab. The challenger not having success with his yet. They’re taking turns being the aggressor, Holloway having a greater success with his punches early on. Ortega not able to get out of the way of Holloway as he comes up the middle with punches. Holloway finding a home for his body shots as well. Straight right lands across Ortega’s chin. He catches Holloway with a short right hook as he backs up, then a straight left of his own. Right hand over the top for Holloway. Ortega gets down low for a takedown and he’s trying to wrap up Holloway’s legs, but the champion is able to recover and stand. Holloway looking loose, his hands low, his straight right is scoring big time. Holloway lands several right hands and then starts to mock Ortega with an exaggerated wobble. Ortega gives Holloway a high knee and then looks for a single leg, he can’t get it.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Holloway

Round 2: Holloway pawing with his jab and he lands a solid leg kick. Punches over the top have Ortega angling off. He takes a couple then lands a counter uppercut on Holloway. 1-1-2 by Holloway lands clean. Ortega wading in and he scores with a body punch, but Holloway backs him off with another hard shot. Holloway chewing Ortega up with his jab and the challenger scrambles for a takedown that doesn’t come close. The lower part of his face is covered in blood as Holloway’s punches are connecting with impunity now. Ortega staying in there with him, and he’s countering with hard punches, drawing some crimson from the champion’s nose. High volume from Holloway who is giving Ortega zero room to breathe. Holloway ducks a three-punch combo from Ortega and hits him with a right hand. Big flurry by Holloway who is out-landing Ortega badly in the closing moments of round two. But Ortega keeps firing back and he has Holloway retreating after a straight right. More volume punching from Holloway with high accuracy. Good punches in close by Ortega. He doubles up on a jab and connects. Incredible action so far.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Holloway. Overall, 20-18 Holloway.

Round 3: Holloway picking up right where he left off and Ortega is happy to engage A minute in, he lands some big shots that Holloway is definitely feeling. As he tries to find his rhythm, Ortega goes for the takedown, Holloway is able to defend. Spinning back elbow by Ortega, followed by a stiff leg kick. Holloway still initiating with his jab, but Ortega’s counters are finding more success. They are just standing in the pocket and firing. Ortega taking shots to land his own. Short elbow by Holloway cracks Ortega and he’s still coming forward. Ortega wades through live rounds to clinch up against the fence. There’s no question Ortega is landing hard shots, but Holloway’s output and success rate is still greater. Strong round for Ortega though. He cannot get out of the way of Holloway’s straight punches. As impressive as Ortega’s resilience is, he is eating almost every punch that Holloway throws. Closer round, but it should go to the champ.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Holloway. Overall, 30-27 Holloway.

Round 4: Holloway showing ridiculous speed, going 1-2 up top, 1-2 to the body, and then 1-2 up top again in about three seconds. He is looking loose in there, his head and hands low and he lights up Ortega whenever the challenger comes forward. Ortega pops Holloway with a jab. Cracking body shot by Ortega. Holloway going head-body-head-body-head and he is just pummeling Ortega against the cage. Ortega refusing to fall, but his punches are catching nothing but air. For everyone one good shot Ortega lands, Holloway seems to land four of his own. Holloway literally just walking forward and blasting Ortega with lefts and rights to the head. Ortega has to snag a body lock to slow him down. Ortega briefly tries to pull guard, but Holloway is having none of it. Both men in the pocket again, just blasting each other, with Ortega getting the worst of it. He falls back with Holloway on top, but it’s not long before they’re back on their feet. Massive swelling around Ortega’s left eye. Ortega gets in on a single leg, no takedown. He tries again and Holloway just falls on top of him. He lets Ortega stand up. More punches down the middle. Big flurry to end the round for Holloway.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8, Holloway. Overall, 40-35 Holloway.

In between rounds, Lavigne calls for the stoppage. Too much damage around Ortega’s eye perhaps. That’s going to be a TKO-win for Holloway, who retains after an all-time classic.

Official result: Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of round four