Kevin Cody

Holloway cancels South Bay’s Ortega UFC featherweight title in Vegas

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Brian Ortega works on his stand-up game with trainer James Luhrsen. Photo by Brad Jacobson (CivicCouch.com)

by Kevin Cody

[UPDATE: UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has withdrawn from his UFC 226 fight with Brian Ortega after showing concussion like symptoms, according to a statement released by Holloway’s manager Brian Butler.]
Saturday night in the octagon of the 20,000 seat, Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena, Redondo Beach Breakwater surfer Brian Ortega will fight for the UFC 226 featherweight title against Hawaiian title holder Max Holloway. Ortega, at 145 pounds versus Holloway’s 155 pounds, is the oddsmakers’ underdog (+135 vs -127), a position he’s been tagged with throughout his career, despite a 13-0 record.

Ortega earned the title match last March when he knocked out number two ranked featherweight Frank Edgar (23-6) with a right uppercut in the first round. That win could prove significant in Saturday night’s fight because Ortega, whose nickname is “T City” (for triangle chokehold)  is known as a jiu jitsu ground fighter. Holloway is known as a stand-up striker.

Ortega’s manager Ed Soares said he wasn’t surprised to see his fighter beat Edgar with a punch. Edgar, in his 30 previous fights had never before been submitted.

“In the weeks before the Edgar fight, I saw Brian and his trainer James Luhrsen working on combinations and I remembering thinking that’s a good plan,” Soares said. If Ortega wins, he will become Soares second featherweight champion. The Redondo Beach resident also managed  three-time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Aldo lost his title to Holloway last summer.

An Ortega victory would bring a UFC title back to the South Bay for the first time since the UFC was founded in his hometown of Torrance by the Gracie family in 1993.  Ortega, who is 27, has trained with Gracies since he was 13.

“Holloway and I are opposite fighters. That’s a formula for war,” said Ortega, who is known for getting stronger as his fights progress.

“He’s got a switch,” Luhrsen said. “That’s the difference with Brian. He’s got a second wind, and his heart is bigger than his brain — he’ll go all out.”

UFC 226 will be broadcast, beginning at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 7 on Pay-Per-View (PPV), FOX Sports 1, and UFC Fight Pass. ER

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