Stacked UFC 226 seems to have got it’s second title fight as UFC featherweight champion Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) will put his title on the line for the second time against #1 ranked featherweight contender Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 226 on July 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
UFC President Dana White confirmed the booking to multiple outlets after MMA Junkie’s Brett Okamoto reported earlier that the bout was close to being finalized according to various sources. (via Twitter):
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega is on for UFC 226 on July 7, per Dana White. First reported by @MMAjunkie. Good looking card for T-Mobile Arena!
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 21, 2018
Holloway’s 2018 began with a series of turn of events. Holloway was slated to fight former UFC lightweight champion and featherweight contender Frankie ‘the Answer’ Edgar for the featherweight title at UFC 222 in March. Holloway however suffered an ankle injury which led to his withdrawal from the event.
Holloway was targeting a July return until a replacement opportunity opened up. UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson suffered a knee injury and was ruled out of his UFC 223 title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. With less than a week out, Holloway offered to step in to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed UFC lightweight title.
Even though the fight being at 155 pounds, Holloway still had to cut a significant amount of weight. The bitter again struck as Holloway was not allowed to cut weight further by the commission after he hit 159 pounds which again resulted in the fight being scrapped. With this bout against Ortega, Holloway would like to return to normalcy in his career.
Ortega on the other hand has left no doubts in cementing himself as a number one contender. The undefeated BJJ specialist stepped in to replaced Holloway against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 in March. Ortega had already dusted off a veteran in Cub Swanson just few months ago in December. Edgar had to go through the same fate, as Ortega brutally knocked him out with an uppercut to become the first fighter ever to finish Edgar.
All of the six victories of Ortega have been stoppages and he would like to add Holloway’s name to the list to become the undisputed featherweight champion.