Brian Ortega TKO’s Thiago Tavares in crowd pleasing battle
Undefeated prospect Brian Ortega lived up to the hype with a third round victory over veteran fighter Thiago Tavares in a back-and-forth crowd pleaser from New Orleans.
Ortega had a lot of hype surrounding his UFC debut last year, and while he was impressive in victory, a post-fight drug test failure marred the fight and put him on the shelf for nine months.
The 24-year-old Californian came out in his second trip to the Octagon with something to prove while taking on a true veteran of the sport as Tavares looked for his third straight win overall.
Tavares wasted no time taking the fight to the ground, but Ortega immediately began fishing for submissions from the bottom, making the Brazilian work and struggle to maintain his position. During one exchange on the mat, Ortega nailed Tavares with a big elbow that opted a massive cut above the right eyebrow.
Tavares was allowed to continue, but the blood began pouring out of his forehead and actually ended up in Ortega’s mouth at one point during the fight.
Through two rounds it appeared Tavares was in enough control with his takedowns, but Ortega had no quit in him and he came out in round three looking to get the finish.
Ortega began striking with Tavares as his opponent’s conditioning started to fade, and he put together a set of punches that dropped the Brazilian to the mat. Ortega followed him to the ground where he landed in the mount in and opened up a barrage of strikes until the referee called a stop to the fight.
"I made it a dog fight on the ground. He’s very good, he stopped all my submissions so we had to change the next poison which was stand-up, baby!" Ortega said after the win.
Ortega moves to 9-0 with one no contest on his record while sending a message to every featherweight in the division that he has officially arrived.