Last night, in the main event of UFC 231 in Toronto, undefeated featherweight contender Brian Ortega stepped into the cage with UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway. While Ortega had some real success in his long-awaited title fight with Holloway, he was ultimately thumped severely enough that the cage-side doctor elected to stop the fight between the fourth and fifth rounds.
After a post-fight hospital visit, Brian Ortega has now issued a quick statement on this loss to Max Holloway. As always, the California native was the picture of class.
Here’s what he had to say.
“Doctor stopped it and I agree,” he said, before updating on his injuries. “Broken nose and a broken thumb I was willing to die in there. Last night was Max’s night. I’ll be back. Thank you to everyone who’s always believed in me and supported me.”
This loss to Holloway represents Ortega’s first taste of defeat. Prior to this failed title bid, he was a perfect 13-0. His 6 most recent wins occurred in the UFC’s Octagon, where he picked up stoppage wins over names like Clay Guida, Renato Moicano, Cub Swanson, and most recently, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Like Brian Ortega, UFC President Dana White believes the cage-side doctor made the right choice stopping this fight between the fourth and fifth rounds.
”I wanted them to stop that fight going into the fifth round,” White said at the UFC 231 post-fight press conference (transcript via MMA Mania).“I was hoping that either the referee or the corner would stop that fight. That fight needed to be stopped. For all of us in here that have been in the fight game for a long time, that’s what you call, ‘Too tough for your own good.’”
”I believe he could have done the fifth round, I believe he would have done the fifth round,” he added. “But, it should never have happened. That fifth round should never have happened and I’m glad it didn’t. He’s a young, talented guy and I think going into that 5th round would have been very bad for him, health wise. Fourth round wasn’t good for him health-wise, and definitely not the fifth round. So I commend the doctor here in Toronto for stopping that fight, he did a great job.”
What do you think the future holds for Brian Ortega after UFC 231?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/9/2018.