UFC staging 2 title fights at Toronto event tonight
Men’s featherweight and women’s flyweight belts being contested at UFC 231
TORONTO — Whatever the outcome of tonight’s UFC 231 main event between featherweight champion Max Holloway and challenger Brian Ortega, UFC president Dana White says it could be Holloway’s last outing at 145 pounds.
White said the weight cut is too severe for the Hawaiian fighter, who has battled a variety of health issues this year around fight time.
“I didn’t want him to fight at 145 (pounds) again, I wanted him to fight at 155 (lightweight),” White said. “There’s a lot of risk — to him, to us, to everybody.”
But Holloway (19-3-0) wanted to face Ortega (14-0-0 with one no contest).
“I wanted him to move up to 155. I believe after this fight — win, lose or draw — he will,” said White. “And I will be pushing him hard.” Holloway made weight at 144.5 pounds on Friday, tweeting a photo of him on the scales with a finger to his lips as if silencing the doubters. Ortega was 144.75.
“You think these guys have to be tough to fight? You have to be tough to cut weight, man,” said White, noting Holloway was 161 pounds on Monday.
The two 145-pounders were originally slated to meet at UFC 226 in July, but Holloway was forced to withdraw at the last minute due to what was thought to be “concussion-like symptoms.”
Doctors have been unable to determine what the problem was.
“I’m pretty sure he did not have a concussion,” said White. “It had to be associated with weight cut.”
An ankle injury had forced Holloway out of a March bout against former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at UFC 222.
Ortega filled in for Holloway, winning by spectacular first-round TKO to become the No. 1 contender.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-2-0) and Valentina Shevchenko (15-3-0) meet for the vacant women’s flyweight title in the co-main event at Scotiabank Arena.