UFC featherweight champion Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway pulled out of his UFC 226 co-main event bout vs. Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega late Wednesday night due to concussion-like symptoms. As of early Thursday afternoon, the promotion had not released a statement regarding the issue.
However, according to multiple media reports, Ortega is going to be removed from the card and wait to face Holloway at a later date.
Holloway’s management team released the following statement to MMAJunkie.com:
“Max’s team and UFC staff noticed Max was not normal since late last week. This became obvious to many watching his interviews and public appearances the past few days.
“He was showing concussion-like symptoms before he even started his weight cut and was rushed to the ER on Monday where they admitted him overnight. Initial scans seemed okay, and he was released Tuesday afternoon, but symptoms still continued.
“Max fought with his team to continue with the fight. He showed some improvement over the next day but was still showing obvious symptoms. After open workouts, he crashed and was very hard to wake up. When he did, he had flashing vision and slurred speech.
“He is now back in the ER for further tests.”
Holloway was poised to defend his strap for the second time against the unbeaten Ortega, who was hoping to snap the champ’s 12-fight winning streak. If Holloway can be cleared soon enough, I would think UFC 228 on Sept. 8 could be the landing spot for the 145-pound loop’s biggest fight since Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor.
Ortega responded to the news on social media like this:
Look for the heavyweight slugfest between Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis and Francis Ngannou to be elevated into the co-main event slot.
In other news, middleweight Derek Brunson has withdrawn from his UFC 227 showdown vs. Antonio Carlos Junior. Combate reported that Brunson has an injured eye, while ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto reported that the promotion will re-book this matchup at a later time.
Also, when Volkan Oezdemir was moved out of his UFC Fight Night 134 headlining bout vs. Shogun Rua to instead face Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 227, he was replaced by Anthony Smith, who recently sent ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans into retirement with a 53-second knockout.
[...] has opened Smith as a heavy -275 favorite vs. Rua, who is a +195 underdog. [...] has installed Gustafsson as a -335 ‘chalk’ versus Oezdemir (+245).
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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