The Bloody Elbow team has filed its forecasts for UFC 231, and while everyone who wrote something up picked Max Holloway over Brian Ortega, entire opinion is rather divided. In terms of the co-main event, again things are divided as to who’ll prevail between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko. It is good to have toss-up title conflicts like these two, is not it?
Notice: Predictions are entered during the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some authors opt not to do this for their own motives. By way of example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any excuses he has no idea if he is going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any specific fight.
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega
Anton Tabuena: This really is fairly straightforward to me. Barring any weird health difficulties, Max Holloway should fully run through Ortega here. Holloway is just better and far more dangerous than all the other folks Ortega has defeated. This is clearly still MMA and Ortega has shown that he has decent power, but he certainly won’t pick apart someone as technically adept as Holloway. I believe this will seem a lot like Ortega’s past bouts, but he will have a far worse beating and will not be able to fix that magic comeback. Max Holloway by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: There’s a degree of unsustainability into Ortega’s love of finishing fights over winning rounds, and Holloway is a masterful rounded winner. I’m obviously assuming we are receiving the ideal edition of Max Holloway, so that is the secret here. Ortega has grown tremendously as a striker, but until this point, Holloway has proven a ridiculous chin and he’s probably not the person who you want to engage in a high-paced brawl with. Ortega loves the leaping guillotine, I suspect Holloway is going to be prepared for that, and he’s a damn good grappler in his very own right. Takedowns are unlikely on both sides, and Ortega in particular has shown himself to be not particularly great at taking down his opponents in the first location. While Ortega is extremely dangerous based on what we’ve seen from him in recent conflicts, I trust Holloway to do more damage and avoid the classic Ortega comeback. Max Holloway by unanimous conclusion.
Zane Simon: Ortega’s struggle against Frankie Edgar was something of a sin. He has always been always been dangerous, but that was the very first time his striking fashion – assembled around a lot slicker moves and often a lack of basic ones – has looked like a whole game. He worked behind the jab, feinted, pulled out predictable answers and shifted up his entries to club Frankie to unconsciousness. It was damn pretty. It also suggests that it is difficult to say just how much more improved Ortega might be now. Without seeing more variety and consistency into his game, and without visiting an ability to maintain output over multiple hard striking rounds, I need to select Holloway. His ability to push a pace then to up that rate because his competitors tire, his ability to change targets in conjunction and start up new mixtures off sooner, easier ones, just aren’t skills that Ortega has revealed yet. And Ortega still has a background of losing rounds he hasn’t completed the fight in. Despite Max’s health scare, most of the questions are on Ortega’s side and most of the replies are on Holloway’s. Max Holloway by choice.
Victor Rodriguez: Neither guy will be seeking to take down the other, and Holloway’s clinch match is deadly. Having said this, Ortega’s been a guy I’ve counted out in so many fights, I feel dumb picking him against him. He ought to have a range disadvantage and Max’s frenetic pace should make this hard for him because of quantity, but Ortega does not get hit that much and appears to keep finding ways to pull a bunny from his hat. I still want to select Ortega by diving for a flying armbar from a clinch scenario, but that’s a small reckless for me personally. And while I’m still worried about the fact that we don’t know what health concerns Holloway had time, it seems that the guy that wears damage well and contains a more comprehensive and composed approach to his strikes should be able to take over as the fight goes on and employ pressure accordingly. Max Holloway by choice.
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