Brain Ortega is ‘definitely not fighting’ at UFC 226, manager says
There will be no featherweight title fight at UFC 226.
Brian Ortega‘s manager Ed Soares informed the media the undefeated Los Angeles native will not be fighting on Saturday’s card in Las Vegas despite an attempt to find a last-minute opponent.
Ed Soares, Ortega manager, says his fighter is definitely not fighting Saturday.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) July 5, 2018
Ortega (14-0) was supposed to challenge featherweight champion Max Holloway in the co-main event, but Holloway was forced to withdraw after being hospitalized with concussion-like symptoms Wednesday night. During Thursday’s press conference, UFC president Dana White was not optimistic about seeing Lil Heathen back in the octagon anytime soon.
Dana White on Max Holloway: “There’s no way this guy is going to fight anytime soon.” He adds they still aren’t quite sure why he is feeling this way.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2018
While Holloway was certainly off the card, there was speculation UFC would find a replacement fighter to face Oretga, potentially for an interim title. One challenger in particular was aggressively pursuing an opportunity to fill the spot, Jeremy Stephens, White said. Stephens has spent several months publicly challenging T-City, but Ortega has avoided the matchup in pursuit of a shot at a title fight.
With Holloway’s status unclear and White’s predicted timetable, a UFC 227 card featuring Ortega-Holloway at the Staples Center, a homecoming for Ortega, August 4 also seems unlikely.