Brian Ortega

3 things we learned from UFC: Fresno

The sky’s the limit for Featherweight Brian Ortega

In the UFC: Fresno main event, Brian Ortega submitted rank #4 featherweight Cub Swanson in the 2nd round by guillotine choke. The victory keeps Ortega’s unbeaten streak alive, as well as a hugely impressive run of 6 finishes in 6 fights in his UFC career thus far.

Ortega almost had the fight finished in the first round, locking in an anaconda choke in the dying seconds, but Swanson managed to hold on long enough to be saved by the bell. In the second round, Swanson was having good success on the feet but Ortega was absorbing it well and staying competitive. Ortega found a way to leap into a second choke attempt, only this time it was in the middle of the round, and after a quick readjustment by Ortega, Cub had no other option but to tap to the guillotine.

The unbeaten prospect has developed an incredibly dangerous submission game under the tutelage of Rener Gracie and the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy and will pose problems to anyone in the Featherweight division. Having been criticised in the past for coasting through fights and finding late, miraculous finishes, Ortega answered many of his critics on Saturday with his 2nd round victory over the veteran Swanson.

Marlon Moraes hype is not unwarranted

If Francis Ngannou’s knockout of Alistair Overeem was an earthquake, then Marlon Moraes’ knockout of Aljamain Sterling can be considered the aftershock.

Just one week after Ngannou’s earth-shattering knockout of ‘The Reem’, Marlon Moraes produced a solid runner-up for ‘Knockout of the Year’. The Brazilian caught Sterling with an improvised knee off an intended switch-kick, sending him stiff to the octagon floor.

After being signed to the UFC from the World Series of Fighting, Marlon Moraes was riding a wave of hype and expectation from his teammates and fans alike. As is the case with many of their signings, the UFC does not coddle former champs from outside the organisation. In his UFC debut, Moraes lost a close split decision to Raphael Assunção and followed up with a split decision victory over John Dodson. In two very close split decisions, chatter about the Brazilian was reduced to a simmer.

After UFC: Fresno and his stunning KO of Aljamain Sterling, hype levels for Moraes have exploded off the scale once again, and rightly so after such an impressive finish.

Jason Knight still has some maturing to do

In what seemed to be a frustrated performance, Knight looked off his game against Gabriel Benítez. Knight appeared to tire fairly early and struggled to mount any meaningful offence. His opponent had a good fight, showing off good takedown defence, accurate striking, and strong leg kicks, but I felt like I learned more from Knight in this one, even in defeat.

In a bizarre series of events, Jason Knight was deducted a point in the opening round due to biting down on the fingers of Benítez. Regardless of the foul, Knight seemed outclassed for the most part, losing the striking exchanges and failing to have any notable success on the ground. In the few takedowns he did commit to, he was reversed and often found himself on his back.

After going 4-1 in the UFC, Knight was catapulted into a fight with top Featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214. Suffering a first round TKO defeat, the fight against the veteran Lamas proved to be a step too far for ‘Mississippi Mean’. After his fight against Benítez, it seems ‘The Kid’ still has some maturing to do. However, Knight has a lot of potential and it’s definitely too early to write him off yet.

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