The undefeated featherweight from Southern California was scheduled to meet Max Holloway for the latter’s 145-pound championship on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
But Holloway was pulled from the fight Wednesday night due to ongoing concussion-like symptoms. And now the UFC has announced that the challenger has decided to sit out and wait on Holloway’s return and won’t compete in a potential replacement bout.
Ortega’s coach, Rener Gracie, previously told MMA Fighting that Ortega would only consider staying on the card if there was a title on the line. Gracie later confirmed Ortega will not fight at the event.
With a stacked card that is headlined by the superfight between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, there was less need to have Ortega stay on the card than on recent cards which have had important fights fall out, as a replacement fight wasn’t pivotal to save the show.
The UFC announced Thursday the new UFC 226 co-main event will feature Francis Ngannou against Derrick Lewis. Also, a welterweight contest between Mike Perry and Paul Felder has been moved to the main card.
The complete UFC statement is below:
Featherweight champion Max Holloway is out of his scheduled bout against Brian Ortega due to injury and the fight has been removed from Saturday’s UFC 226 card. Stepping into the co-main event position is a highly-anticipated heavyweight bout featuring No. 1-ranked Francis Ngannou and No. 5-ranked Derrick Lewis. The bout featuring Paul Felder and Mike Perry will move to the main card.
The four athletes will be available at today’s press conference in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. PT, which will be available to view online at www.ufc.com.
UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier is taking place at T-Mobile Arena this Saturday, July 7 and is available on pay-per-view starting at 10 p.m. ET.