Let there be no more doubt: Brian Ortega is the real deal.
The Gracie jiu-jitsu standout from Torrance, Calif., had the biggest opportunity of his career on Saturday night, as he took a matchup with Frankie Edgar as a replacement for featherweight champion Max Holloway.
And boy, did Ortega ever take advantage. A giant, fight-changing elbow led to a first-round knockout on Saturday night in the co-feature bout of UFC 222. The time of the stoppage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas was 4:44 of the opening round as Ortega become the first fighter ever to finish the legendarily tough former UFC lightweight champion.
“This is how I always saw it in my dreams” Ortega (14-0, 1 NC) said. “It was an honor to share the Octagon with a legend like Frankie.”
Edgar did his thing over the first half of the round, darting in and out and throwing punches in bunches. But it was only a matter of time before Ortega closed the distance. A wicked left elbow was followed up patiently by a right uppercut, and then another right uppercut dropped Edgar and essentially finished the fight.
Ortega has won six straight fights since a no-contest in his UFC debut, with stoppages in all six fights.
“I knew he was going to be in my face pressuring me, so I had to use my elbows,” Ortega said.”
Edgar (22-6-1) had a two-fight win streak snapped.