A spectacular performance for Brian Ortega.
On Saturday night at UFC 222, Brian Ortega earned a shot at the Featherweight belt with a first round KO of Frankie Edgar. Edgar was initially slated to fight Max Holloway for the title, but the champion pulled out with an injury, and Ortega stepped up on short notice.
Frankie is a living legend- a former Lightweight champion with a wealth of experience. He fights with a measured style, and looks to impose his skills in specific ways. Ortega is basically the opposite. He rides a (14-0-1) record and is enormous for the weight class. He also possess an iron chin and seems comfortable in the fire of a brawl. If his powerful strikes don’t break his opponent he has a special penchant for diving on wild submission attempts.
In the early going, Frankie did a great job of mitigating Ortega’s size advantage. He either stayed outside of Ortega’s longer punches, or flurried inside of them, catching the young man with several good shots. He also shrugged off Otraga’s signature guillotine attempt. But Otrtega quickly made a phenomenal adjustment, throwing a right elbow, which caught Frankie inside punching range. The veteran was clearly wobbled, and Ortega closed in. They clinched for a few moments before an uppercut finished the fight.
Ortega became the first fighter to finish Frankie Edgar at 4:44 of the opening round.
Ortega was nothing but class after the fight.
“This is how I always saw it in my dreams. It was an honor to share the Octagon with a legend like Frankie. I knew he was going to be in my face pressuring me, so I had to use my elbows.”
He will next face Max Holloway for the belt. Holloway will not be an easy fight for Ortega, and the two share some remarkable similarities.
Both are pressure fighters, and unafraid to take damage. They also both have sharp submissions without any real wrestling game. Holloway arguably has the faster strikes and Ortega arguably has the stronger strikes. It is sure to be a thriller, and might happen as soon as UFC 224 in Chicago.
Watch the video below for a highlight of the fight.
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