Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight finishers Diego Brandao and Brian Ortega collided last night (Jan. 2, 2016) at UFC 195 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Brandao may not have found consistent success just yet, but he's consistently violent at least. The Brazilian brought his usual do-or-die attack into the cage last night, as he was looking to blow through his opponent.
Meanwhile, Ortega was looking to prove himself as a true contender. He looked the part of a blue-chip prospect in his last bout against a tough opponent, and another strong performance would really push him up the ladder.
To watch Brian Ortega vs. Diego Brandao full fight video highlights from UFC 195 last night click here.
Brandao, as expected, wasted little timing in taking the fight to his opponent. He was the more physical fighter and better striker, allowing him to work over his opponent early. In particular, Brandao was doing big damage with low kicks and landed some takedowns as well.
Ortega fared far better in the second half of the round. He was still getting hit hard, but Brandao's shots were losing some steam, whereas Ortega was beginning to connect and throwing with good volume.
It wasn't enough to win back the round, but it was a start.
Brandao started the second round well enough, but he was definitely getting slower. However, Ortega didn't really capitalize early on, circling away from most exchanges without throwing much of anything.
Ortega stepped up his volume a bit at about the midway point in the round, but he still backed away a bit too much. By allowing Brandao to control the center, Ortega gave away a very winnable round.
Luckily, either Ortega or his corner figured that out.
"T-City" started the final frame with some fire, attacking his opponent with combinations. Both men were landing, but it forced some clinch exchanges. In the close distance, Ortega shot for takedowns and did his best to jump on submissions.
Before long, one landed.
As Brandao defended a takedown, Ortega latched on to a d'arce choke. It was tight and allowed him to move into the mount, which Brandao attempted to scramble out of. Instead, he landed directly into a triangle choke, which the long-legged jiu-jitsu black belt quickly finished.
Ortega's performance wasn't perfect, but he earned an incredibly slick finish regardless. Besides his obviously beautiful jiu-jitsu, Ortega's toughness was a major factor here. He ate a lot of hard shots but simply kept on coming, and that willpower took its toll on Brandao's gas tank.
However, Ortega nearly gave this fight away. He let Brandao rest and take control for far too long, when he should've been punishing his opponent and further ruining his conditioning. Had Brandao survived the third round, he very likely would've eked out a decision victory.
Luckily, Ortega is young and can grow from this performance. Following this win, a match up with another up-and-coming Featherweight like Mirsad Bektic would make sense.
This was a pretty standard showing from Diego Brandao. He has a lot of talent, skill, and athleticism, but his game simply is not successful at a high level. He simply cannot maintain effective offense without gassing out badly, and he's very vulnerable once he reaches that stage.
The key to fixing this is adjusting Brandao's stand up style. He puts everything into all of his strikes, and it costs him. Unless Brandao scores an early finish or does serious damage, it's all going to come apart late in the fight.
Brandao is deep into his career, but he does train at a camp that's smart enough to recognize and hopefully work on this. If Brandao ever fully realizes his potential, he'd be an extremely dangerous fighter.
Last night, Brian Ortega submitted fellow black belt Diego Brandao. How high can the submission ace climb in the talent-rich Featherweight division?
For complete UFC 195 "Lawler vs Condit" results and play-by-play, click HERE!