A certain Featherweight title eliminator co-headlines UFC 222 this weekend as original main event title challenger Frankie ‘The Answer’ gets a short notice replacement in the form of grappling sensation and division upstart Brain ‘T-City’ Ortega.
Edgar who was initially scheduled to face current 145lbs champion Max Holloway in the event’s curtain closer was left opponent less after the Hawaii striker injured his leg in preparation for the five rounder.
Fresh from an incredible standing guillotine victory over Cub Swanson, Ortega stepped in on short notice, in an attempt to leapfrog Frankie and earn a title tilt. A rumoured matchup between UFC Lightweight champion Conor McGregor and Edgar for an inaugural 165lbs title was teased days before the event in an Instagram post by the Dubliner, something Edgar and manager Ali Abdelaziz strongly deny.
A true pioneer of mixed-martial arts, former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is one of the most game and determined competitors to step into the octagon.
The highly decorated future Hall of Fame inductee holds some of the most prestigious names in his win column.
Overcoming the likes of B.J. Penn, Tyson Griffin, Jeremy Stephens, Chad Mendes, Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, Sean Sherk and Gray Maynard, Frankie has beaten the who’s who of both the Lightweight and Featherweight division, solidifying his status as one of MMA’s all-time elite.
Derailing the fast rise of Mexican striking sensation Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodríguez last time out, Edgar proved he can still hang with these young prospects and in dramatic fashion as well. From the opening buzzer,
Edgar tactically utilised his phenomenal wrestling to ground out Yair before a second-round doctor’s stoppage due to a notable hematoma ended Rodríguez’s night on the stool.
Earning his third shot at UFC Featherweight gold, Edgar was scheduled to meet Holloway this Saturday but the aforementioned leg injury has seen the match up scrapped for a second occasion.
Representing the new blood of the 145lbs prospects, Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Brain Ortega is one of the most impressive grapplers in the Featherweight ranks already. At just 27 years of age, Ortega has dispatched each and every one of his UFC opponents to date, finishing the lot.
A UFC bow victory over Mike De La Torre was overturned to a ‘No Contest’ due to the presence of drostanolone in a USADA test sample, but since then, Ortega has continued his onslaught, stopping Thiago Tavares, Diego Brandao, Clay Guida, Renato Moicano and perhaps most impressively, experienced well rounder ‘Killer’ Cub Swanson at December’s UFC Fresno.
With BJJ coach Rener Gracie awarding Brian his black belt out of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Ortega is regarded as one of the complete grapplers in the promotion’s history, both dangerous off his back and from the top, possessing a wicked rear-naked choke and a vice-like guillotine.
Despite Brian’s high-level grappling base, Frankie, in my opinion, is too well rounded, with sharp boxing, unrivalled wrestling at Featherweight and of course a black belt of his own.
Edgar has been thrown to up and coming prospects before with Yair being the obvious example and I believe he out strikes Ortega for the three-round affair before a decision victory.
Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision.