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UFC 231 Toronto – Card Preview

You can bet that blood will be lost and champions will be pushed to their individual limits to claim what’s rightfully theirs as the stakes this Saturday night in Toronto are at its highest. Contenders will look to climb up the rankings.  In the co-main and main event “eras” will either begin, continue or end. UFC 231 isn’t the kind of card for a Conor McGregor stan, although I’d highly encourage them to watch. This is the kind of fight card the UFC was built on, and why it’s still the MMA’s premier organization, 25 years later. This is a stacked fight card for the REAL fan, that’s headlined by two title fights.

A post shared by Joanna Jedrzejczyk (@joannajedrzejczyk) on Oct 18, 2018 at 5:33pm PDT

It’s a card that has so much firepower that it’s sure to keep the viewers’ attention with non-stop action. With a card of this magnitude however, it’s easy for some fights to get overshadowed. I’m highlighting two fighters who may be flying under the radar but are sure to bring it as they walk to the octagon this Saturday nights.

Unknown MMA’s Featured UFC 231 “Fight Pass” Prelim Fighter

Diego Ferreira will be kicking off UFC 231 in the first fight of the “Fight Pass” portion of the prelims. Diego’s original opponent was forced off the card, so Jesse Ronson (0-3 UFC) has stepped in with just one weeks’ notice. Going into Saturday night, this will be Diego’s 7th fight with the UFC. However, this is the first time since his first year (2014) with the UFC that he will be fighting more than once in the same year. His most recent bout was against Jarrod “Flash” Gordon in his home state of Texas, in Austin in which Diego won by TKO. Diego ranks in the top 5, amongst male fighters at UFC 231, in significant strikes landed per minute with an average of 10.16. Inside the octagon, Diego has also finished 75% of his victories (2 by KO/TKO and 1 by submission).

Diego will look to make it three consecutive victories in the UFC, this Saturday. So do yourself a favor and tune in! To hear more about how Diego has prepared for his upcoming fight be sure to check out Unknown MMA’s founder, Amanda Sanchez with an amazing interview leading up to this week’s fight at UFC 231.

UPDATE: Jesse Ronson was forced out of his fight for being too “heavy” but Canada’s own Kyle Nelson (12-1 MMA) has stepped in to fight Diego, on a last-minute notice. If all goes right, this go around, Kyle will have been the third fighter Diego has had to prepare for upon entering the octagon this Saturday.

“Unknown MMA’s” Featured UFC 231’s Televised Prelim Fighter

Eryk “YA BOI” Anders will be looking to get back in the win column after a tough loss where he showed a tremendous amount of heart. “Ya BOI” suffered a defeat, to the always tough, Thiago Santos at “UFC Fight Night SAO PAULO”.

As good as he is a fighter, the athlete in Anders has never been in question. Eryk is an over-all athlete where during college he excelled at football. The athleticism and strive to be the best in the octagon is something he simply carried over from his time at the University of Alabama where he reached the top of the college football mountain by winning a National Championship. It’s no surprise that winning is second nature to Anders. Anders has a current MMA record of 11-2 and UFC record of 3-2. Two of his three wins have come by KO. His most recent was against Tim Williams. “Ya Boi” went straight sicko mode and hit Tim Williams with a soccer kick to the head that put him “out like a light”.

So be sure to tune in and catch Eryk Anders on FS1’s televised portion of the prelims. His fight could easily land him a bonus for performance of the night, especially if he becomes the first person in the UFC to successfully finish Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (15-2) inside the octagon. To get more of an insight of how Eryk Anders is dealing with fight week and his thoughts on his fight coming up, consider yourself lucky because Amanda Sanchez has blessed the fans once again with a great interview between her and Eryk, which is definitely a must see. 

“This is the Co-Main Event of the Evening”

Even before they square off in the octagon, this Saturday for the vacant Flyweight championship, Valentina Shevchenko (15-3) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-2) have had a familiarity with one another. As fate would have it, both these ladies would train in Thailand at the same gym nearly a decade ago, for the Muay Thai World Championships back in 2007. They would go on to meet a total of 3 times between 2006 -2008, with Valentina always getting the better of Joanna.

Soon enough, they would both end up in the UFC. Valentina would enter the Bantamweight division and Joanna would enter the Strawweight division. Joanna soon became the champion of the division by beating, or should I say dismantling, then-champ Carla Esparza. The self-proclaimed “Strawweight Queen,” would go on to defend her title 5 times, thus giving her the nickname, “Joanna Champion”. To be fair, I believe it was just easier for some people in the media to call her that, rather than attempt to say her last name and completely butcher it.

However, no nickname, person, or winning streak could save her from what would take place at UFC 217, in Madison Square Garden. Some will say a “Rose” grew from concrete that night in the concrete jungle, known as NYC. This being because Joanna was knocked off her throne and a new champion had bloomed in the Strawweight division. Joanna would get her rematch soon thereafter at UFC 223, you know the card that involved an infamous dolly, unfortunately for her she would still fall short in a unanimous decision loss to champ Rose Namajunas.

As for her counterpart, Valentina would fight up the ranks of the Bantamweight division, eventually defeating Holly Holm and Julianna Pena. It earned her a crack at the title at UFC 213, against Amanda Nunes in Las Vegas during International Fight Week. Thanks to a “sinusitis,” Amanda pulled out of the fight just hours before the card was scheduled to take place. The UFC would reschedule the fight for UFC 215, and Valentina would lose via a split decision to Amanda Nunes. Following her heartbreaking loss to Nunes, Valentina turned her attention to the newly birthed female Flyweight (125lb) division in the UFC.

Although Valentina got the better of Joanna on three different occasions nearly 10 years ago, it’s Joanna who has reached the pinnacle in the UFC already by reaching gold once in her respective division. For Joanna, it’s about legacy and making history for being the first two-weight female champion in UFC History. As for Valentina, it’s about destiny, it’s about what she has always believed she was destined to be when she entered the UFC; a champion. This Saturday in Ontario, Canada, inside the Scotiabank Arena, we’ll have a fight that’s been 10 years in the making. At UFC 231 it’s going to be legacy versus destiny for the vacant Flyweight Division Championship.

With a win, is @JoannaMMA the 🐐 of women's MMA? #UFC231 — UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2018

“IT’S TIME!!!!!!”

In a division that has only crowned three champions (Aldo, McGregor, Holloway) and only two who have successfully defended the belt, we find ourselves with all eyes on UFC 231. One of these men in the main event can be simply known as the “Blessed” Max Holloway, hopes to keep his winning streak of 12 fights (that dates back to January 4, 2014)  alive in a second successful title defense against a man who has ran through the division by finishing each one of his opponents in the octagon. That man is Brian Ortega or, “T-City,”; he is yet to suffer a defeat in his career.

Although, this fight doesn’t have the history that the co-main event may have, it’s a fight that was supposed to happen in July at UFC 226. Unfortunately, due to complications and a serious health scare for Max Holloway that was brought to the public’s attention during a “UFC Tonight” interview with Michael Bisping the fight would be called off during fight week. Thankfully for fight fans, the fight was rescheduled and all sets are a go for this Saturday at UFC 231.

Of all the fighters sharing the octagon this Saturday at UFC 231, the champion, Max “Blessed” Holloway is ranked 1st in significant strikes per minute, landing nearly 14.42. Brian “T-City” Ortega comes in 4th, landing an average of 11.41. These numbers leave little to any doubt that this fight is going to be a potential candidate for “Fight of the Night,” but don’t be surprised if it ends up being a strong candidate for “Fight of the Year”. Holloway and Ortega are two fighters that have heart, have a tremendous amount of respect for one another, and know that one wrong move can result in a KO or submission.

When Max “Blessed” Holloway (19-3) and Brian “T-City” Ortega (13-0-0,1NC) meet in the octagon, it’ll be for the Undisputed Featherweight (145lb) Championship. Max Holloway will look to cement his place as arguably the greatest Featherweight of all time. In order to make that argument though, he must first defeat Brian Ortega to remain the Featherweight Champion when the two face off in Canada; or as the Hawaiian in Holloway would call it the “10th island”. As for Ortega, he believes that the gold is his for the taking and just as all his other opponents have failed, that Holloway will be no different than the men who have come before him. Brian Ortega looks to put an end to the “Blessed Era” and prove that “T-City” may not be the holy land but it’s where the Featherweight Champion will reign. So fight fans, let’s enjoy this stacked fight card because UFC 231 is for us! CHEERS!

"This is the beginning." The rivalry has just begun. #UFC231 — UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2018

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