When news broke Wednesday evening that featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway was removed from UFC 226 for exhibiting concussion-like symptoms, so did the dream of Brian “T-City” Ortega of becoming the new 145-pound king.
For now, anyway.
Ortega (14-0), has quickly risen through the ranks of the UFC to become the number one contender to Holloway’s belt. “”T-City” needed less than a round to put former champion Frankie Edgar to sleep, surprisingly enough via knockout. Now the Southern California native will have to wait a little longer to get his chance at Holloway’s featherweight strap.
Speaking with MMA Fighting, Ortega’s coach Rener Gracie would state that the only way Ortega would, in fact, stay on UFC 226 is if his fighter had a chance to capture gold. Gracie later confirmed Ortega would not be competing this weekend.
There is no denying that losing the co-main is a big blow to the landmark event, albeit, UFC 226 is still full of exciting match-ups. The heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis has been promoted to the new co-main event.
You can read the complete statement from the UFC below:
Featherweight champion Max Holloway is out of his scheduled bout against Brian Ortega due to injury and the fight has been removed from Saturday’s UFC 226 card. Stepping into the co-main event position is a highly-anticipated heavyweight bout featuring No. 1-ranked Francis Ngannou and No. 5-ranked Derrick Lewis. The bout featuring Paul Felder and Mike Perry will move to the main card.
The four athletes will be available at today’s press conference in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. PT, which will be available to view online at www.ufc.com.
UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier is taking place at T-Mobile Arena this Saturday, July 7 and is available on pay-per-view starting at 10 p.m. ET.