Max Holloway overwhelms Brian Ortega in gritty, gutsy title fight win at UFC 231

As hard as he tried, and as many strikes as he landed, Max Holloway couldn't put Brian Ortega out or make him quit.

But after battering the face of Ortega (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and closing his left eye, Holloway (20-3 MMA, 16-3 UFC) got a little help from the cageside doctor, who urged a stoppage at the end of Round 4, resulting in a TKO victory for the defending UFC featherweight champ.

The featherweight title bout was the main event of Saturday's UFC 231 show at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

From the start, Holloway proved himself to be the smoother, cleaner striker, tagging Ortega with aggressive combinations and overwhelming him with sheer offensive output.

But despite eating several stinging punches in the opening round, Ortega wasn't about to go away easily. With his nose bloodied early, he didn't land as often as Holloway, but he did fire back hard, landing some heavy counters that appeared to hurt Holloway at times.

What Ortega couldn't seem to do was nab a takedown when he needed it, which kept him from bringing his feared submission game into the equation. And while Holloway sometimes needed a little time to extricate himself from Ortega's clinch, when he did he quickly went right back to peppering him with punches, pausing every so often to pose and taunt his foe.

By the fourth round, the punches came in hammering bunches, snapping Ortega's head back and chasing him from one side of the cage to the other. By the end of the round, Ortega's left eye had ballooned to a swollen purple mass, which proved to be enough to bring the doctor into the cage before the fifth and final round.

With Ortega's swollen eye threatening to compromise his vision, the doctor asked for the bout to be stopped, much to Ortega's dismay. Holloway looked up to receive the news from his stool across the cage, then leaped over the fence to celebrate with his team and his son.

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