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Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega targeted for UFC 226

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Max Holloway
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega is being targeted for UFC 226.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC 223’s loss could end up being UFC 226’s gain.

A much-anticipated featherweight title bout between UFC champion Max Holloway and undefeated challenger Brian Ortega is being targeted for the International Fight Week card on July 7 at UFC 226, sources close to the situation told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. The bout has yet to be officially signed, per Helwani.

Holloway (19-3) was scheduled to replace the injured Tony Ferguson earlier this month against Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bid to become a two-division champion at UFC 223, however Holloway was ultimately pulled from the opportunity by doctors on the morning of weigh-ins as a result of his significant weight cut down to the 155-pound lightweight limit on less than a week’s notice.

Prior to that, Holloway was forced to withdraw from his scheduled UFC 222 title defense against Frankie Edgar due to a leg injury he suffered in training.

As a result of Holloway’s injury, Ortega (14-0, 1 NC) ended up stepping up against Edgar on short notice and delivered a stunning upset at UFC 222, knocking out Edgar with a vicious first-round salvo and, in doing so, becoming the first man to ever finish the legendary former lightweight champion.

Holloway, 26, would ride an impressive 12-fight win streak into UFC 226 — a run that includes victories over Jose Aldo (x2), Anthony Pettis, Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas, and Jeremy Stephens, among others.

Ortega, 27, likewise is unbeaten over his UFC run. The California native has finished all six of his Octagon wins, submitting the likes of Swanson and Renato Moicano and knocking out the likes of Edgar and Clay Guida.

UFC 226 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The event is headlined by a champion vs. champion bout between UFC light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier and the UFC’s heavyweight king, Stipe Miocic.