Brian Ortega Is ‘Praying’ Max Holloway Is Healthy For UFC 231
Brian Ortega will challenge for the UFC featherweight title when he faces Max Holloway this Saturday at UFC 231, but he isn’t yet totally convinced the champion will make it to the Octagon.
Ortega was meant to face Holloway earlier this summer at UFC 226 during the UFC’s 2018 International Fight Week, but after Holloway fell ill during fight week he was denied his first opportunity to capture UFC gold. Thankfully, that only delayed the bout with Holloway until UFC 231 this Saturday when the two will main event the UFC’s penultimate pay-per-view fight card of the year.
Speaking at a media event in Los Angeles earlier this week (h/t MMA Fighting transcribe), Ortega expressed his concerns about Holloway still not knowing what struck him down in July.
“Both of us did a show in Canada and that was the first time I heard it,” Ortega said about Holloway’s comments about him still not knowing what went wrong in July. “He was like, ‘We still don’t know what it is.’ I looked over during the show like, What the f*** do you mean you don’t know what it is? I was like, Are you serious? And we’re scheduled already not too far from now. I don’t know. I pray for the guy and I hope he’s good.”
With the fight at UFC 226 being called off Wednesday evening during fight week, Ortega believes we won’t know until mid-fight week whether Holloway will be fit enough to fight on Saturday night.
“He’s made it all the way through his training camp, he’s always successful with that,” Ortega said. “It’s just these last [pause] I don’t know if the [weight] cutting triggers something.
“I don’t know what it is. He doesn’t know what it is. But there is a concern there. Obviously, he is the best and I want to fight him. That’s why he’s got the belt around him. For me to fight him, it would secure my name at the top as well.”
That said, Ortega is happy with the precautions that the UFC have been taken ahead of their showdown on Saturday. The challenger also reiterated that he’s concerned for Holloway’s health and doesn’t wasn’t anything unfortunate to happen in his attempt to make weight.
“They did all the tests, right?” Ortega said “They evaluated, they made sure he was healthy. The UFC, being the name that they are, I don’t think they’re gonna let someone go in there if they’re not in the right state. What does kind of seem a little bit off is the the fact that they still can’t seem to figure out what’s going on. That’s kind of where it’s like, well are you guys being professional with this? Or do you guys really want to push this fight? I don’t know.
“My concern is always for him. I said it before, even though we’re fighting, I still have respect and love for the guy. He has a family, he has a kid and I don’t want to be the guy that triggers something bad to happen. I wouldn’t like to live with myself with that.”
Watch the full video of Ortega’s media scrum: