The boxing world descended into frenzy after last Sunday’s draw – for the first time in a long time we actually have a heavyweight division to get excited about.
Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Fight fans have been spoilt lately.
Last weekend we had Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury give us one of the best heavyweight boxing matches in recent history as well as UFC returning to Adelaide. Sunday sees the UFC host its second-last pay-per-view of the year with UFC 231: Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega, and if you were going to watch any card this year, make sure you sit yourself down for this one.
Not only are there two championships on the line, but both fights have four fighters who are the future of the UFC. In the women’s flyweight division Valentina Shevchenko is taking on Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant flyweight title.
Valentina seems to be the woman the UFC has earmarked as their pick for flyweight champion after stripping Nicco Montano for missing weight for her fight with Shevchenko earlier in the year, making Shevchenko vs Sijara Eubanks the main event of UFC 230 (albeit briefly) before scrapping that and finally settling on the fight we’re seeing Sunday.
Shevchenko has always been the one constant in any flyweight title fight the UFC had in mind. Joanna has beaten Valentina when the two met at strawweight, but it remains to be seen whether not having to undergo such a severe weight cut will aid Shevchenko or if Joanna can continue on the comeback trail, having lost her title and rematch to Rose Namajunas.
The main event is one of the most talked about match-ups in the UFC in 2018. On one side you have Max Holloway. The reigning champion is a man on a 12-fight win streak whose last loss came to a man named Conor McGregor in a split decision and who almost fought for the lightweight title halfway through the year.
That lose to McGregor was way back in 2013, and since then he has torn through the featherweight division, eventually claiming the title from Jose Aldo and comfortably beating him in their rematch.
Standing across from him will be Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega. Ortega is currently undefeated and one of the scariest propositions for any champion. He is a black belt in jujitsu and is very capable of standing and trading – in fact he was the first man to ever hand Frankie Edgar a knockout loss, and if you haven’t seen that knockout, do yourself a favour and find it.
This is the type of fight you always wanted to see but which the powers that be usually take it upon themselves not to give the fans – but not this time. This time we get a match-up between two exceptional fighters, both young, gifted and dangerous on their feet or on the ground.
Both fighters go out to finish their fights – they hate judges. Ortega is the current owner of the longest active finish streak in the UFC (6) and Max Holloway last needed the scorecards in 2016. This fight promises thrills, spills and an early finish.
Besides these two incredible fights, the UFC 231 card is very strong with the likes of Gunnar Nelson taking on Alex Oliveira at welterweight. Nelson is cornered by John Kavanagh, the same man in Conor McGregor’s corner.
Elsewhere, Kyle Bochniak takes on Hakeem Dawodu in the featherweight division – Bochniak had one of the fights of the year back in April against Zabit Magomedsharipov – and the light heavyweights round out the card with Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos.
With no last-minute withdrawals, UFC 231 has the potential to be one of the cards of the year and showcase some exceptional MMA. Make sure you don’t miss it.