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09th Dec 2018

Max Holloway makes a mess out of Brian Ortega’s face to retain featherweight title

That was brutal

Darragh Murphy

Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo might have a thing or two to say about but it’s difficult to deny Max Holloway his status as the greatest featherweight of all time.

Holloway defended his 145lbs strap by putting on a show at the Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night as he beat Brian Ortega’s face to a bloody pulp before forcing the stoppage prior to the final round.

In one of the most thrilling featherweight title fights of all time, Holloway called his shot as he let commentator Joe Rogan know that the stoppage was imminent before the fifth round of the UFC 231 main event.

‘Blessed’ landed 236 out of his 436 attempted significant strikes to close Ortega’s left eye while Holloway’s takedown defence held firm against the grappling initiations from the previously undefeated fighter.

Holloway’s fighting future has recently been called into question due to problems with his cut to 145lbs and issues in his personal life but the Hawaiian is in little doubt about his overall goal as he scaled the cage to declare himself the greatest of all time after the doctor called a halt to proceedings this weekend.

Ortega’s first shot at UFC gold shouldn’t be written off as a Holloway mauling because he did enjoy his moments but that Hawaiian spirit was not to be broken and the doctors ultimately refused to let Ortega answer the horn for the fifth.

Holloway rejected claims that he would struggle to continue making 145lbs as he expressed a desire to be recognised as the greatest of all time in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.

“I made the weight and I made it look easy,” Holloway said. “I’ll tell you what, Dana White. I want to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound. If there are guys at 155lbs then let’s do it. If it’s the baddest man and my good friend, Daniel Cormier, bring it on. Let’s go!

“A king’s got to defend his throne. If he leaves his throne then another king will come. Come see me! Blessed era, baby.”