The second time was the charm for the Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega fight.
The highly anticipated matchup of two of the finest young stars in mixed martial arts is now official for Saturday night at UFC 231 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Holloway, the UFC featherweight champion, weighed in at 144.5 pounds during Friday morning’s official weigh-in. Ortega, his challenger, also successfully weighed in, hitting the scales at 144.75 pounds.
The leadup to the weigh-in, however, was fraught with tension, as Holloway’s had several issues this year, including the cancelation of the first attempt to make a bout with Ortega.
Holloway was scheduled to defend his belt against former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 222, but had to withdraw due to a leg injury. Ortega ended up fighting Edgar on the card, and earned his shot at Holloway with a first-round knockout.
Several weeks later, Holloway volunteered to fight lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov on just six days’ notice at UFC 223 in Brooklyn after Tony Ferguson had to withdraw from the bout. However, the New York State Athletic Commission pulled him from the bout on the morning of his weigh-in, ruling the weight cut unsafe.
Then, the 27-year-old Hawaiian was scheduled to defend the belt against Ortega, but was pulled from the bout during fight week due to displaying concussion-like symptoms. Ortega, for his part, declined to take on a substitute fight and chose to wait for Holloway’s recovery.
That decision paid off for Ortega on Friday, as the fight is now official. Holloway (19-3) has won 12 in a row since a 2013 decision loss to Conor McGregor and will fight for the first time since his third-round finish of Jose Aldo just over a year ago. Ortega (14-0-1) is 6-0 with a no-contest in the UFC, with all of those wins coming via finish.