The Bloody Elbow team has submitted its predictions for UFC 231, and while everybody who wrote up something picked Max Holloway over Brian Ortega, entire opinion is fairly divided. As for the co-main event, things are split as to who’ll prevail involving Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko. It is excellent to have toss-up title fights like these two, is not it?
Note: Predictions are entered during the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each choice are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own motives. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without incorporating in any explanations, he has no idea if he is likely to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega
Anton Tabuena: This really is fairly straightforward to me. With any bizarre health difficulties, Max Holloway should fully run through Ortega here. Holloway is just better and far more dangerous than the rest of the folks Ortega has defeated. This is obviously still MMA and Ortega has shown that he has adequate power, but he definitely won’t pick apart someone as technically adept as Holloway. I believe this will look a lot like Ortega’s past spells, but he will have a far worse beating and won’t be able to secure that magic comeback. Max Holloway by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: There is a degree of unsustainability into Ortega’s love of completing fights over winning rounds, and Holloway is a masterful rounded winner. I am obviously assuming we are getting the ideal version of Max Holloway, so that’s the secret here. Ortega has increased tremendously as a striker, but until this point, Holloway has proven a ridiculous chin and he is likely not the person you want to engage in a high-paced brawl with. Ortega enjoys the jumping guillotine, I guess Holloway is going to be ready for that, and he is a damn good grappler in his own right. Takedowns are unlikely on either side, and Ortega specifically has revealed himself to be not particularly good at shooting down his opponents in the first place. While Ortega is extremely dangerous based on what we’ve seen out of him in recent fights, I trust Holloway to do more damage and prevent the classic Ortega comeback. Max Holloway by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Ortega’s struggle against Frankie Edgar was something of a revelation. He has always been always been dangerous, but that has been the very first time his striking fashion – built around a lot slicker moves and frequently a lack of basic ones – has appeared like a complete game. He worked behind the jab, feinted, pulled out predictable responses and changed up his entries to club Frankie to unconsciousness. It was damn pretty. Additionally, it suggests that it is hard to say just how much more improved Ortega could be now. Without seeing more variety and consistency into his game, and without visiting an ability to keep output over multiple hard hitting rounds, I have to select Holloway. His ability to push a speed then to up that rate as his opponents tire, his ability to modify targets in conjunction and open up new mixtures off sooner, simpler ones, just aren’t skills that Ortega has shown yet. And Ortega still has a history of dropping rounds that he hasn’t finished the struggle 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 man will be looking to take down the other, and Holloway’s clinch match is lethal. Having said this, Ortega’s been a man I have counted out in so many struggles, I feel stupid picking against him. He should have a range drawback 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 from his hat. I want to select Ortega by diving for a flying armbar from a clinch scenario, but that is a little reckless for me personally. And while I’m still concerned about the fact that we still don’t know what health concerns Holloway had time, it would appear that the guy that wears damage well and has a more complete and composed approach to his attacks should be able to take over as the battle goes on and employ pressure so. Max Holloway by choice.
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