Tomorrow night, one of the last UFC pay-per-views of the year takes place at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Featherweight champion Max Holloway and #1 contender Brian Ortega headline the card while Valentina Shevchenko and former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will compete for the vacant flyweight title.
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega
This fight is one of the most anticipated of the year, especially for the hardcore fans. The bout has a massive amount of hype behind it and for good reason. Max Holloway has won his last twelve fights in the UFC and holds an impressive record of 19-3 as a professional. Additionally, he owns consecutive victories against the consensus GOAT of the featherweight division, Jose Aldo, twice by knockout. Holloway has outstanding striking and his distance control is arguably the best in MMA. The key to victory will be his distance and not getting caught in the clinch against the cage or getting taken down. (Obviously)
Brian Ortega’s story is not only phenomenal but his performances as a professional, his look, and his personality all fit the bill for a future superstar. T-City is unbeaten as a professional and is 6-0 in the UFC. Ortega is currently the best representation of the fundamental Gracie BJJ system and has also knocked out legends of the sport to include Frankie Edgar. Ortega’s key to victory is his ability to close the distance and press Holloway against the cage, earn the takedown, and submit Holloway.
Pick: Max Holloway via 4th round TKO. Holloway has defeated the best of the best in the sport and Ortega is known for his slow starts in fights which is not favorable against the “Blessed” vicious striker.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
This fight reminds me a lot of Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald at Bellator 206 and allow me explain. Both fighters have comparably equal skills but the bottom line is size matters. Valentina is moving down from 135 pounds while Joanna is the most dominate strawweight champion the sport has ever witnessed and is moving up from 115 pounds. If you have not seen the weigh ins yet, go watch them and you will see what I mean.
Pick: Valentina Shevchenko via Decision. Look, both women are great in all aspects of the game and possess equal skills in most departments. Shevchenko has victories over Joanna in Muay Thai and I think this will be no different. Joanna is personally my favorite fighter but as said before, the size will be an issue.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Alex Oliveira
This fight is my dark horse of the night. Both men have comparable styles and both men need a win to remain relevant. Nelson’s last fight was a lost against Santiago Ponzinibbio in a fight that ended in controversy. Nelson took an obvious eye poke and was knocked out which he attributes to the eye poke. “Gunni” has impressive wins over Alan Jouban, Brandon Thatch, and Zak Cummings.
Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira is a diverse fighter in the welterweight division that always brings the fight, most ending in a finish. He has wins over the former interim champion, Carlos Condit and the always tough Tim Means.
Pick: Nelson via 3rd round TKO. I think Oliveira will be able to defend Nelson’s submission attempts early but eventually, Gunnar’s diversity will earn him a victory over Oliveira.
The Rest of the Card:
Hakeem Dawodu def. Kyle Bochniak via KO/TKO
Jimi Manuwa def. Thiago Santos via KO/TKO
Claudia Gadelha def. Nina Ansaroff via Decision
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Gilbert Burns via Decision
Jessica Eye def. Katlyn Chookagian via Decision
Eryk Anders def. Elias Theodorou via KO/TKO
Brad Katona def. Matthew Lopez via Decision
Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise via KO/TKO
Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson via Decision
Devin Clark def. Aleksandar Rakic via Decision