Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega title fight agreed to for UFC 231 in Toronto

After a health scare, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is expected to return to the octagon in December to defend his title against No. 1 contender Brian Ortega.

Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) and Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 231, which will take place Dec. 8 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Although bout agreements have not been signed, the matchup is expected to be finalized shortly for the pay-per-view card, which will likely follow prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Two people with knowledge of the development told MMAjunkie of the impending booking. They requested anonymity because the UFC has not publicly announced the matchup.

Holloway, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, was expected to face Ortega in July at UFC 226 before he was pulled from the event because of concussion-like symptoms. It was the third time Holloway, 26, was forced to withdraw from a fight within the past year after he was ruled out of a last-minute lightweight title fight against now-champ Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, and then suffered an injury prior to a scheduled featherweight defense at UFC 222 against Frankie Edgar.

No. 2-ranked Ortega, 27, wound up stepping in for Holloway at UFC 222 and secured the No. 1 contender position with a knockout of Edgar. The submission specialist has rocketed up the featherweight ranks with a string of six stoppage wins throughout his unbeaten career.

Ortega declined a short-notice fight with Jeremy Stephens at UFC 226 in favor of keeping his position on the featherweight ladder.

The latest UFC 231 lineup now includes:

  • Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega – for featherweight title
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns

For more on the UFC 231, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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