The Bloody Elbow group has submitted its forecasts for UFC 231, and while everyone who wrote up something picked Max Holloway over Brian Ortega, overall opinion is rather divided. In terms of the co-main event, again things are divided as to who’ll prevail between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko. It is good to have toss-up title conflicts like these two, is not it?
Notice: Predictions are entered during the week and gathered the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick aren’t required and some authors elect to not do this for their own motives. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all his predictions on Wednesday without incorporating in any explanationshe has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with a single fighter for any given fight.
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega
Anton Tabuena: This really is pretty straightforward to me. Barring any weird health difficulties, Max Holloway should completely run via Ortega here. Holloway is just much better and far more dangerous than the rest of the people Ortega has defeated. That is obviously still MMA and Ortega has shown that he has decent power, but he certainly will not pick apart someone as technically proficient as Holloway. I believe this will seem a good deal like Ortega’s past spells, but he will take a much worse beating and won’t be able to fix that magic comeback. Max Holloway by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: There is a degree of unsustainability to Ortega’s love of completing battles over winning rounds, and Holloway is a masterful round winner. I am obviously assuming we are receiving the best edition of Max Holloway, so that is the key here. Ortega has increased tremendously as a striker, but up until this point, Holloway has shown a ridiculous chin and he is probably not the person you want to take part in a high-paced brawl with. Ortega loves the leaping guillotine, I suspect Holloway will be prepared for this, and he is a damn good grappler in his very own right. Takedowns are unlikely on both sides, and Ortega specifically has shown himself to be not especially great at taking his opponents down in the first place. While Ortega is very dangerous based on what we’ve seen out of him lately fights, I still trust Holloway to do more damage and prevent the timeless Ortega comeback. Max Holloway by conclusion.
Zane Simon: Ortega’s struggle against Frankie Edgar was something of a sin. He’s always been always been dangerous, but that has been the first time his striking style – built around a lot slicker moves and often a lack of basic ones – has appeared like a complete game. He worked behind the jab, feinted, pulled out predictable answers and changed up his entrances to club Frankie to unconsciousness. It was damn pretty. It also suggests that it is difficult to say how much more improved Ortega might be now. Without seeing more variety and consistency to his game, and without seeing an ability to maintain output multiple hard hitting rounds, I have to pick Holloway. His ability to push a pace then to up that rate as his competitors tire, his capacity to change targets in combination and start up new mixtures off sooner, simpler ones, just aren’t skills that Ortega has revealed yet. And Ortega still has a history of losing rounds that he hasn’t finished the fight in. Even with Max’s health scare, the majority of the queries are around Ortega’s side and nearly all of the replies are on Holloway’s. Max Holloway by choice.
Victor Rodriguez: Neither guy is going to be looking to take the other down, and Holloway’s clinch match is deadly. Having said this, Ortega’s been a guy I’ve counted out in a lot of struggles, I just feel dumb picking him against him. He should have a range disadvantage and Max’s frenetic pace must make this hard for him because of volume, but Ortega does not get hit that much and seems to keep finding ways to pull a rabbit out of his hat. I still want to pick Ortega by diving for a flying armbar in the clinch situation, but that is a small reckless even for me. And while I am still worried about the fact that we still don’t understand what health concerns Holloway had time, it would appear that the man that wears damage well and has a more comprehensive and composed approach to his strikes should be able to take over as the battle goes on and apply pressure so. Max Holloway by decision.