UFC 231 Report: Max Holloway stops Brian Ortega, Valentina Shevchenko crowned

John Pollock's coverage of UFC 231 from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto featuring Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega for the featherweight title and Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant women's flyweight title.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of UFC 231 from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. This is the UFC’s first card in the city since December 2016, which was also headlined by Max Holloway when he defeated Anthony Pettis to become the interim featherweight champion.

Phil Chertok will be joining me late tonight for our UFC 231 POST Show on the main feed, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever you listen to our shows.

Jon Anik is calling the show alongside Joe Rogan and Paul Felder.

QUICK RESULTS
*Aleksandar Rakic def. Devin Clark by TKO at 4:05 of Round 1
*Diego Ferreira def. Kyle Nelson by TKO at 1:23 of Round 2
*Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise by KO at 1:37 of Round 1
*Brad Katona def. Matthew Lopez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Elias Theodorou def. Eryk Anders by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Jessica Eye def. Katlyn Chookagian by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Gilbert Burns def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Nina Ansaroff def. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Thiago Santos def. Jimi Manuwa by KO at 0:41 of Round 2
*Hakeem Dawodu def. Kyle Bochniak by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
*Gunnar Nelson def. Alex Oliveira by rear-naked choke at 4:17 of Round 2
*Valentina Shevchenko def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision (49-46 all) to become the UFC women’s flyweight champion
*Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 4 to retain the UFC featherweight title

ALEKSANDAR RAKIC DEF. DEVIN CLARK BY TKO AT 4:05 OF ROUND 1

It was looking bad for Rakic early when Clark dropped him with a left hand. Clark continued with numerous knees to the head, several were clearly illegal but there was no warning by referee Brian Beauchamp. Clark recovered and got away from the cage. Clark charged at Rakic and was took a back fist that sent him spiraling down and Rakic finished him with strikes.

Rakic improved to 10-1 with the stoppage and this was his third win in the UFC since debuting last year. He said he wants a name opponent in the light heavyweight division.

DIEGO FERREIRA DEF. KYLE NELSON BY TKO AT 1:23 OF ROUND 2

This was the third opponent for Ferreira with Nelson being the latest replacement at the start of the week. Jesse Ronson was pulled at the start of fight week when it was ruled that he was too heavy to cut the amount of weight necessary for the lightweight limit. Nelson also fights at featherweight so was coming up in weight for this late-notice fight.

The first round saw Nelson look poised and landing numerous power shots to surprise Ferreira. In time, Ferreira implemented his game and got Nelson to the mat and mounted his back while landing strikes and secured the round. The second round opened with Ferreira taking him down, getting the mount and finishing Nelson with strikes.

Ferreira improved to 13-2 and has won his last three.

DHIEGO LIMA DEF. CHAD LAPRISE BY KO AT 1:37 OF ROUND 1

They were feeling each other out and Lima tagged him with a clean left hook and Laprise was done. Lima just raised his arms and knew it was over with the clean knockout.

Lima was coming off losses to Jesse Taylor, Yushin Okami, and Jason Jackson. He improved to 12-7.

BRAD KATONA DEF. MATTHEW LOPEZ BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Brad Katona won the Ultimate Fighter at featherweight and was coming down to bantamweight for this fight.

Katona and Lopez had a close first round that came down to the end where Lopez scored the takedown, but it was Katona landing elbows off his back. Katona controlled the second round with his striking that looked very crisp and never tired. The third round ended with Katona getting Lopez to the ground and applied a choke as the horn sounded and Lopez was out. Referee Brian Beauchamp didn’t rule it a technical submission when it appeared to be one.

ELIAS THEODOROU DEF. ERYK ANDERS BY SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Theodorou threw so many strikes from awkward positions and was built up his attack with spinning strikes that would end in low leg kicks. This game plan led him to take the first round. In the second, Anders started connecting with his left hand and stunned Theodorou after one hard shot landed flush. Theodorou withstood the damage but it was even after two rounds. In the third, Theodorou had his rhythm back and was the busier fighter as he clinched the third round.

Theodorou earned his third consecutive victory and is a winner in five of his last six. He stated after the fight he is going to push for medical cannabis use among fighters, which is a cause he has been outspoken about and had been denied a TUE for cannabis ahead of this fight.

JESSICA EYE DEF. KATLYN CHOOKAGIAN BY SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

This fight was so close. In the first round, Chookagian developed some swelling around her eye and Eye had one additional significant strike in the round. Eye won the second round and I thought it was the easiest round to score of the three. She landed with several rights hands and a big elbow strike. In the third, Chookagian got the better of the striking exchange, including a right hand getting through. It was such a close fight, but I had it 29-28 for Eye.

Eye said she wants a title fight next after winning her third fight in a row at flyweight.

GILBERT BURNS DEF. OLIVIER AUBIN-MERCIER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Burns dominated the fight with few flashes from Aubin-Mercier. Burns slammed him off the fence in the first round, attacked with hammer fists and nearly ended it, but Aubin-Mercier survived. It was a close second round with Aubin-Mercier trading and landed a nice uppercut. Burns got the fight back down to the mat in the second round and continued with the takedowns in the third round. I had win ahead 30-27 at the end, it’s hard to make an argument for a 29-28 card.

Burns bounced back from a loss to Dan Hooker by knockout in his last fight in July.

NINA ANSAROFF DEF. CLAUDIA GADELHA BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28 ALL)

This was another close fight. Gadelha won the first-round landing with a combination and taking Ansaroff down. In the second round, Ansaroff had her striking game established and out-landed Gadelha by a wide margin, but Gadelha got her down and had control for most of the round in top position. Ansaroff won the third round using her jab effectively and thwarted all takedown attempts.

This was Ansaroff’s fourth straight win since January 2017 and was an underdog coming into the fight.

THIAGO SANTOS DEF. JIMI MANUWA BY KO AT 0:41 OF ROUND 2

This was one of the wildest fights of 2018.

The first round could be the best UFC round this year. Santos clipped him early and started nailing him with left hands and Manuwa clinched to hold on from the power strikes that Santos landed. Then, Manuwa came back with a big right as Santos started throwing wild head kicks and scored a takedown. Manuwa got to his feet and they traded bombs. Wild round and I narrowly gave it to Santos.

In the second, Santos pressed Manuwa toward the fence and landed a brutal left uppercut and follow up left hook as Manuwa collapsed to end the fight.

Unreal.

HAKEEM DAWODU DEF. KYLE BOCHNIAK BY SPLIT DECISION (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)

Dawodu won all three rounds and the only controversy was that one judge scored the fight for Bochniak.

Dawodu mixed his strikes all over Bochniak, targeting the body and then moving to other parts of the body throughout the fight.

Bochniak was reliant on his right hand, which his corner told him after two rounds he was down and needed more than that. Dawodu was taken down several times but never in trouble and made his way back to his feet quickly in each instance.

The final round saw Dawodu mixing up combinations, working behind his jab and presenting too many tools for Bochniak to deal with. I scored it 30-27 for Dawodu.

It was his second win in a row since losing his UFC debut in March.

GUNNAR NELSON DEF. ALEX OLIVEIRA BY REAR-NAKED CHOKE AT 4:17 OF ROUND 2

Nelson worked for the takedown in the first round, but Oliveira grabbed the fence and was warned by referee Jerin Valel. Nelson proceeded to get the takedown and apply a body triangle. Oliveira broke the body triangle and got on top landing vicious ground and pound and won the round.

Nelson took Oliveira down and mounted him in the second round. Nelson started connecting with elbows and there was one elbow that sliced open Oliveira’s forehead and a faucet went off from his forehead. Nelson immediately took the back and submitted him with a rear-naked choke.

The replay was brutal as Nelson squeezed and blood poured out of the cut.

VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO DEF. JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (49-46 ALL) TO BECOME THE UFC WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION

The fight began with Shevchenko scoring a trip takedown into side control. Jedrzejczyk made her way back up but was controlled in the clinch until landing a strike on the break. Shevchenko connected with a spin kick to the body and took the first round.

Shevchenko utilized takedowns in the first half of the fight and was strong in the clinch against the cage. Shevchenko landed knees from the clinch, including a high knee to the face. Jedrzejczyk was never tired and was doing well striking but it was not enough.

Shevchenko paced herself and ended strong in the fifth with her jabs, spinning strikes and pressing the action for the duration of the fight.

I had Shevchenko winning each round and 50-45 overall.

MAX HOLLOWAY DEF. BRIAN ORTEGA BY TKO (DOCTOR’S STOPPAGE) AT 5:00 OF ROUND 4 TO RETAIN THE UFC FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE

They didn’t take any time attempting to establish their games on one another. Holloway started flowing with right hands early in the fight and was piling up strikes, although Ortega was game with counter shots, a big elbow and did get a brief takedown. The first round belonged to Holloway, who landed some clean shots and appeared to rock him with a few, too.

Holloway continued the same pace in the second round with body and head shots. His timing and speed were all on point as he was able to connect and busted open the nose of Ortega.

Ortega came alive in the third round, just as he has so many times, and landed his best combination of the fight. Holloway slowed during this round, until the end of the round when he started landing again. I had it 29-28 after three rounds for Holloway.

Holloway told Joe Rogan he was going to end it as the fourth round began. Holloway came out throwing big shots and landing at a high rate. Ortega was absorbing so many shots as he was put against the cage. The left eye of Ortega was a mess and shutting quickly. Holloway attempted a guillotine unsuccessfully and dropped Ortega down to his back as the volume was through the roof. This was a 10-8 round and they ended the fight between rounds due to Ortega’s eye. It was the right call.

An outstanding performance from Holloway and a terrific main event. Holloway landed 236 significant strikes the two threw more than 500 strikes.

About John Pollock 1836 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.