All fans of mixed martial arts action know that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is still a major draw for fans of bone-splitting knockouts. The next event is UFC 266, which is due to take place on September 25th, 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada. From Valentina Shevchenko against Lauren Murphy for the women’s flyweight title to the Blaydes/Rozenstruik fight at men’s heavyweight, it looks set to be a real cracker.
This is certainly true if you like to bet on the outcome of fights at UFC events. There are plenty of contests to wager on at UFC 266, but it really is wise to do some research first around which bets to place. While the outcome of any one bout might look to be a foregone conclusion, it is not always that simple. To help make tracking stats and working out where to put your money easier, sports betting sites are popular with many. These sites not only bring together expert tips and breaking news, but also the best sportsbooks for UFC betting.
One name that will likely crop up when looking into UFC 266 is Brian Ortega. Ortega is set to headline the event with a re-scheduled fight against reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. With the bout now about to happen, it is worth looking at Ortega’s UFC journey to date.
Ortega turns pro in 2010
Born in 1991, Ortega grew up in Los Angeles and started learning Muay Thai kickboxing when only 5. At age 13, he moved to learn Brazilian Ju-Jitsu at the Gracie Academy in Torrance before also taking lessons from boxing coach James Luhrsen when 17. All this gave him the required confidence to turn professional in 2010. After starting off fighting at regional competitions in Southern California, Ortega won his very first professional MMA title against Carlos Garces. This early period of his career showed what great promise he had, and an impressive 8-0 winning record was soon established. Due to this success, UFC came calling and signed Ortega up in 2014.
False start in early years of UFC career
Ortega was due to make his debut for UFC during May 2014. However, his opponent pulled out at the last moment and with no time to find a replacement, his fight was cancelled. Ortega did make a winning debut in UFC during July 2014 by choking out Mike De La Torre. This win was chalked off though when Ortega tested positive for the banned substance drostnolone. A 9-month suspension followed along with a $2,500 fine.
Later years prove more fruitful for Ortega
Coming back from his suspension must not have been easy, but Ortega did not show any nerves. His comeback fight against Thiago Tavares at UFC Fight Night 68 in 2015 saw him claim a TKO victory in round three. Ortega also claimed the first of multiple Fight of the Night honors for his part in the bout.
2016 proved to be a decent year also for the featherweight from California, as he notched two wins against Diego Brandao and Clay Guida. After two more wins against Renato Moicano and Cub Swanson, people were really taking notice of Ortega. After all, the Swanson victory was the fifth in a streak of bouts won with a finish – second in the UFC at that time only to featherweight champion, Max Holloway.
UFC Featherweight title bout does not go well
At UFC 222 in 2018, Ortega took another step into the limelight when he knocked out Frankie Edgar. A UFC Featherweight Championship shot was then arranged for him against Max Holloway at UFC 226. Just before the event was due to happen, Holloway pulled out due to concussion and the fight was postponed. The re-scheduled 2018 Ortega vs Holloway bout at UFC 231 did happen, but Ortega lost after being stopped in the fourth round by the fight doctor.
Although this and a knee injury in December 2019 which put him out of action were disappointing, Ortega bounced back in October 2020 to beat Chan Sung Jung. This victory brought another title match-up his way against Alexander Volkanovski. This should have been in March 2021 originally, but COVID-19 delayed this. This now sees the bout back on for UFC 266 in a few weeks’ time – just as Dana White’s prediction for UFC 266 in previous weeks had suggested.
Next UFC event in Nevada set to explode
There is no doubt that every UFC event generates excitement. UFC 266 though really seems set to dazzle fans with the Ortega/Volkanovski fight being a major draw. With the journey that Brian Ortega has taken to this point and his undoubted talent, many MMA fans will be rooting for him when the fight begins.