Brian Ortega Faces Up to Six Months Out after UFC 266 Eye Injury

Brian Ortega
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Ortega fought valiantly against Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of UFC 266, but it came at a cost after he suffered a nasty eye injury during one of the greatest title fights in UFC history.

Ortega and Volkanovski fought in a five-round war at UFC 266, with Volkanovski earning the unanimous decision win. Despite the loss, Ortega earned the respect of MMA fans around the sport for his grit and determination, having almost submitted Volkanovski on multiple occasions during the fight.

As first reported by mixedmartialarts.com and later confirmed by MMA Fighting, Ortega will be sidelined until at least March 25th with a right orbital blowout fracture.

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Ortega could realistically be back sooner if he can get approval and clearance from an ophthalmologist as he recovers from the injury. Volkanovski also will serve a brief medical suspension with no contact until at least Oct. 17th.

Ortega wasn’t the only UFC 266 standout who will miss some time due to injuries suffered during the eventful card. Dan Hooker, Marlon Moraes, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik also suffered injuries that may keep them sidelined until at least March as well.

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Ortega put Volkanovski in deep water during the bout and nearly walked away with the featherweight title. He had his way with the champion in the early rounds before Volkanovski was able to transition out of a few submission attempts to land some brutal ground-and-pound, which more than likely caused Ortega’s injury.

Despite returning to the UFC octagon after a six-year layoff, Nick Diaz suffered from minor injuries and will only be sidelined until at least Nov. 10. He’s talked about his intentions to return to fighting and that he enjoyed being back competing in front of the UFC faithful.

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As for Ortega, there’s no telling what could be next for his featherweight career. He could work back to the title shot by taking on another rising challenger such as Giga Chikadze or Calvin Kattar or make a move up to lightweight at a more comfortable weight class.

What do you think should be next for Brian Ortega?

Curtis Calhoun is a Combat Sports Contributor based in Seattle, Washington. After a longtime dream of becoming a sports journalist, he was able to accomplish his goals upon graduating from Washington State University in 2016.