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UFC 231 preview: Hop aboard the ‘Blessed Express,’ making its one and only stop in ‘T-City’

“Birds fly, fishes swim, I fight.” — Max Holloway

In his six years under the UFC banner, Max Holloway has competed a whopping 18 times inside the Octagon. It’s not unusual for “Blessed” to rack up four fights in twelve months and the Hawaiian has never competed less than twice in a calendar year.

Until now.

What was supposed to be a lightweight super fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov earlier this year instead turned into a weight-cutting disaster that landed Holloway in hot water with the New York State Athletic Commission.

Just a few months after that, the reigning UFC featherweight champion — set to defend against top contender Brian Ortega — was benched once again, this time under mysterious circumstances that have only grown more puzzling as the months drag on.

The fact that we still aren't 100-percent convinced that a workhorse like Holloway will make it to the UFC 231 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Saturday night (Dec. 8, 2018) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, should give you an idea of just how unpredictable this sport can be.

Which is why anything less than a spectacular performance will fail to silence the whispers suggesting the 27 year-old Holloway (19-3), winner of 12 straight with nine finishes, may be washed up after losing his title this weekend against “T-City.”

“2018 has been a wild ride indeed, man, some of the lowest lows,” Holloway said. “But we’re about to hit some of the highest highs. We had some unfortunate events this year. It is what it is, you don’t cry over spilled milk. My grandma always told me, you spill something, you clean it up and move on.”

Holloway (19-3) was thought to be suffering from concussion-like symptoms back in July, but recently passed a battery of medical tests clearing him for competition. “Blessed” was last seen taking a technical knockout win over ex-champion Jose Aldo at UFC 218.

As for Ortega (14-0, 1 NC), he’s been riding the pine ever since his first-round knockout win over ex-lightweight kingpin Frankie Edgar last March (watch it). “T-City” is undefeated inside the Octagon with finishes over Cub Swanson and Clay Guida, among others.

“You always see a different me when I get in there,” Holloway said. “People sleeping, people forgetting. It’s time to remember. ‘Blessed Era’ in full effect. The ‘Blessed Express’ is here, don’t miss the ride.”

All aboard!

To see who else is fighting at UFC 231 click here.

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