UFC 231 is finally upon us. It is one of the most anticipated fight cards of the year.
Max Holloway puts his Featherweight title and 12-fight win streak on the line against the undefeated Brian Ortega. We also have a title fight in the women’s Flyweight division as Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Valentina Shevchenko.
Let’s not forget about the big guys stepping into the ring. Jimi Manuwa will be looking to turn things around in his career against the surging Thiago Santos.
From top to bottom this fight card is stacked. Scroll down to preview the main card:
Max Holloway (-115) vs. Brian Ortega (-115)
Max Holloway (19-3) is the king of the Featherweight division. He is on a 12-fight win streak that spans back to 2014. He has subsequently dubbed the last four years as the “Blessed” era.
Tonight, he takes on a dangerous challenger in Brian “T-City” Ortega (14-0-1) that has his own win streak of six. Ortega has never tasted defeat in the cage.
Both men have a lot at stake in this contest. A win for Holloway will quiet his critics and a win for “T-City” will usher in a new era at 145 pounds.
There are a plethora of contenders waiting for the outcome of this bout. The loser will undoubtedly move to the back of the line and have to start their journey to the top all over again.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+260) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (-340)
What a difference a year can make.
Before her bouts with Rose Namajunas, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-2) was unstoppable at Strawweight.
It wasn’t just that she was winning but it was how she was doing so. She was absolutely dominant. Her bout against Namajunas was just a drop in the bucket. Who cared? Joanna would do to her what she had done to everyone else. That was until Rose pulled off the unthinkable and defeated her not once but twice!
Joanna is now in her second weight class and hoping to reclaim gold once again. The only problem is that she is going up against Valentina Shevchenko (15-3). Since 2010, she has lost to only one woman—that being Amanda Nunes.
This fight isn’t just for the Flyweight title but it’s for bragging rights as well between these two women who have a rivalry dating back to the days that they competed against each other in Muay Thai. Expect both women to come out guns blazing.
Alex Oliveria (+125) vs. Gunnar Nelson (-155)
Gunnar Nelson (16-3-1) is making his return to the octagon tonight after sitting out for over a year since his loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio.
His return bout won’t be an easy one as he’s taking on the tricky Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira(19-5-1, 2 NC). For Nelson he would have loved to come back sooner but a knee injury followed by surgery kept him sidelined. He seems to have taken the time off to rebuild his body, showing off a new physique during fight week.
Oliveria has won two straight and six of his last eight bouts. Oliveira wants to keep his streak going but Gunnar wants to reestablish himself a top contender.
The winner of this one moves onto bigger and better things.
Gilbert Burns (+115) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (-145)
Both of these combatants want to get back on track.
The hometown kid Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-3) will be looking to bounce back from his last outing when he takes on Gilbert Burns (12-3). Burns will be looking for his own comeback victory as he was stopped by Dan Hooker in July.
We have two guys that not only want to get back in to the win column but are similar in skill set as they both love to go for the submission. Don’t expect them to hold anything back tonight.
Jimi Manuwa (+160) vs. Thiago Santos (-200)
Two big time knockout artist will meet up in the octagon when Jimi Manuwa (17-4) throws around leather with Thiago Santos (19-6). Between these two men they have a combined 28 knockout victories.
Bottom line is you’re not going to want to miss this one.
Although they both sport similar KO power they are going the opposite way in terms of their careers. Santos is coming off a impressive knockout stoppage over Eryk Anders. He has also won six of his past seven fights. Manuwa on the other hand has lost his last two fights and quite frankly has not looked impressive in a long time.
Both men are desperate for a victory. Manuwa just can’t afford to lose a third fight in a row. Santos is currently surging and a win over Manuwa can put the rest of the division on notice.
The pay-per-view is scheduled to begin at 10:00 p.m. ET.
FOX Sports 1 will be airing four prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET, preceded by UFC Fight Pass, airing the first four fights of the night at 6:15 p.m. ET:
Cláudia Gadelha vs. Nina Ansaroff
Jessica Eye vs. Katlyn Chookagian
Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Aleksandar Rakić vs. Devin Clark
Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez
Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Jesse Ronson
All betting odds provided by Bovada.com