Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again last night (Sat., Dec. 8, 2018) as it staged UFC 231 from inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, featuring a highly-entertaining Featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega (see it). The co-main event saw Valentina Shevchenko finally win a UFC title after outscoring Joanna Jedrzejczyk to hoist the vacant women’s Flyweight title.
Biggest Winner: Max Holloway
Coming into his headlining title fight against rising phenom Brian Ortega, “Blessed” had many questions that needed to be answered. Maybe not for himself, but for naysayers who felt his health may be bigger problem that is being led to believe. Max answered all those questions and then some. After making weight successfully, Holloway went on to deliver one of his most dominant performances to date, battering “T-City” from pillar to post, tearing up his face with one clean shot after another.
He was literally landing at will. Credit to Ortega, though, he kept taking a licking and kept on coming, pushing the fight even if he was getting clocked at every turn. In the end, his toughness may have cost him, as Max was glad to keep the fight on the feet, pushing the pace like only he can. After four rounds of standup action, the ringside physician felt he had seen enough damage on Brian’s face to put an end to the fight, giving Holloway his second title defense and thirteenth straight win. What’s even more impressive is the fact the “Blessed” called his shot, declaring at the start of the fourth frame that he would end the fight in that round. In the process, he may have just cleaned out all of the top contenders in the division. Hello Lightweight?
Runner Up: Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina finally got her hands on UFC gold after handily defeating “Joanna champion” after five rounds of action, winning the 125-pound championship with a masterful performance. “Bullet” has long been one of the best female fighters in all of MMA, winning all of her UFC fights with the exception of two defeats against current Bantamweight title holder, Amanda Nunes.
Hey, even the best of them have their kryptonite. But Shevchenko is now a UFC champion and has the chance to go on a run in the new weight class, much like Demetrious Johnson did when he became the men’s Flyweight champion. While I’m not saying “Bullet” will go on to defend her title 12 straight times (though it is possible), there isn’t really anyone in the division at the moment who poses a legit threat to her. Expect big things from Valentina moving forward.
Biggest Loser: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna came up short in her bid to become UFC’s first-ever female champion to win two titles in as many divisions after getting worked over by Shevchenko. The loss put her in quite a predicament, as she has now come up empty-handed in her last three title fights, losing consecutive bouts to Rose Namanjunas and now “Bullet.” Yes, she can (and probably will) drop back down to Strawweight, but I don’t want to hear talks of another immediate title shot.
Because while she did start her career off at 14-0, including five straight title defenses, the fact of the matter is she is 1-3 in her last four fights. You can only go by your history for so long and people (Joanna included) have to be looking at the present. If she wants a future title fight, I think two more solid wins could get her there. Maybe more, but no less. It doesn’t bode well for her that Rose has two clean victories over her, so Joanna scoring a third title fight against her should she still be champion once she earns it again, will be a hard sell.
For complete UFC 231 results and coverage click here.