Why didn't Brian "T-City" Ortega use his BJJ at UFC 231?
After Max Holloway defeated Brian Ortega at UFC 231, I was asked by a few of my "non JiuJitsu" acquaintances why Brian Ortega didn't use his JiuJitsu during the Featherweight title fight.
UFC 231 featured one of the most anticipated Featherweight match-ups in UFC history when the well rounded Max Holloway fought Gracie JiuJitsu Black Belt, Brian Ortega. On paper the fight appeared to be an equal match-up with some betting lines having the undefeated Challenger, Ortega, as the slight favorite.
In round one both fighters seemed tentative as they began the feeling out process, while both landed punches with Holloway getting the best of the exchanges. With around two minutes to go in the round, Holloway landed a clean right cross, then Ortega immediately landed a take down and it appeared Ortega was going to go to his "bread and butter" JiuJitsu, but Holloway slipped the full take down and remained on his feet, while landing back to back right hands. With around one minute to go in the first, Ortega attempted a second take down that was denied by the Champ.
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The second round was more of the same with both men exchanging punches and kicks with the Champ (Holloway) getting the best of the exchanges. Ortega tried a third take down, but again, Holloway denied the JiuJitsu aces attempt to get him to the canvass. After the failed take down attempt, Holloway continued to land big combinations to Ortega's head and won round two with his striking out put.
Round three saw both fighters willing to exchange punches with Ortega firing a hard body kick. Ortega shot for a fourth take down attempt, but was unsuccessful.The round saw both fighters exchange a variety of kicks, punches, elbows, and knees with Ortega shooting for a fifth take down before the end of the round.
The final round saw Holloway blasting the granite chinned Ortega with a barrage of unanswered blows while pushing Ortega to the fence. Ortega attempted take down number six by trying a "snap down," but Holloway denied Ortega's best effort. With two minutes to go in the round, Holloway continued his relentless attack with knees while Ortega tried to "jump guard," but continued to take punishment from the champ. Before the round ended Ortega tried take down attempt number seven, a single-leg, but instead pulled guard as Holloway continued his assault from the top.
As we all know by now, the fight doctor stopped the fight prior to the fifth round, declaring The Champ, Max Holloway, the winner via TKO. The win improved the Featherweight Champions record to 20-3 and many are calling Holloway the greatest Featherweight of all time.
Like I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, In the days after the fight, I was asked by a few of my "non JiuJitsu" acquaintances why Brian Ortega didn't "do his JiuJitsu" during the title fight with Holloway. For the uneducated "fight fan," it may have appeared like Ortega "didn't do his JiuJitsu" because the fight never went to the canvass. For the educated "fight fans" and those who practice the art of Brazilian JiuJitsu, it was plain to see Ortega tried multiple take downs (at least 7) on Holloway, as well as pulled guard in attempt to take Holloway to the ground. There is no doubt that Brian "T-City" Ortega is an amazing Brazilian JiuJitsu black belt, but let's not discredit the grappling skills and take down defense of Featherweight Champion, Max Holloway, who holds a Purple Belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu. Holloway executed his game plan to perfection by using his superior striking skills and take down defense, not allowing Ortega to take the fight to the canvass where the challenger possibly had the grappling advantage. In my opinion, Ortega did not lose the fight because he did not attempt to use his JiuJitsu, but was out matched by one of the greatest Featherweights in UFC history, who executed a perfect game plan against one of the greatest BJJ practitioners in the UFC today. At the end of the day let's praise Holloway for his amazing title defense and give credit to the heart of Brian "T-City" Ortega, who took all the Champion had and went out on his shield.
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