The new look Brian “T-City” Ortega returned to the octagon after being out for nearly 2 years and his performance was nothing short of spectacular, as he made it look easy against a scary opponent in The Korean Zombie. Nobody, besides probably Ortega and his team, expected such a vast improvement and such a dominant performance on Saturday night. The judges scored the fight 50-45 in favor of Ortega as he clearly won all five rounds and I don’t think there can be any complaints about that decision. Zombie, who is known to walk his opponents down and land deadly combinations was completely shut down by Ortega’s quick and precise strikes. It felt like every time Zombie moved forward to attack, he got caught with a punch, kick or elbow. Ortega dropped Zombie towards the end of round 1 when he caught a body kick and landed a clean straight left to the temple of Zombie. Ortega dropped Zombie again at the end of round 2 with a perfectly timed spinning elbow when Zombie blitzed in to land some shots. Although he was not able to finish Zombie with follow up strikes on the ground, this was Ortega’s best moment in the fight. Ortega did a fantastic job all fight as he constantly attacked the legs, body and head to keep Zombie guessing. He also successfully completed 3 takedowns, which is another strong addition to his game. An unbelievable night out for the much improved Ortega, who proved that he deserves the next title shot at featherweight.
After a one-sided loss to then champion Max Holloway, Brian Ortega brought in some new coaches and worked on aspects of his game that needed improvement. He now has phenomenal striking and strong wrestling to go along with his world class jiu-jitsu. He is more dangerous and versatile than he has ever been and that is a scary site for other featherweights. UFC President Dana White said in an interview that Ortega will be getting the next title shot against champion Alexander Volkonovski and I couldn’t agree more. Volkonovski gets a new challenger and Ortega gets another shot at UFC gold. Cannot wait for that one!
It was not The Korean Zombie’s night as he was completely outclassed by Ortega. Nothing to be ashamed about because Zombie is still a top 5 featherweight and is always going to be a tough fight for anyone in the division. We saw glimpses of his dangerous striking but unfortunately, it was only during a few exchanges. I would love to see Zombie take on the rising #6 Calvin Kattar. Both these men are skilled strikers and this fight would be a battle. A win for Zombie would help him bounce back and a win for Kattar would bring him closer to a title shot.
Notable Winners from UFC Fight Island 6
1. The co-main event saw Jessica Andrade move up to flyweight to fight #1 ranked Katlyn Chookagian. Many including myself thought that this was a tough step up for Andrade, especially because of the height difference. Andrade however, shut us up by finishing Chookagian towards the end of round 1. Andrade’s power was on full display as she got close to Chookagian and landed several strikes, and also a slam takedown. A vicious right hook to the body was what started the finishing sequence for Andrade who closed the distance as Chookagian was backing away. She landed another body shot to put Chookagian down and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Congratulations to the Brazilian powerhouse on her performance of the night bonus, who may have also earned herself the next title shot at flyweight.
2. The 24 year old prospect from Australia Jimmy Crute was not messing around as he finished another rising star Modestas Bukauskas in the first round of their fight. Crute knocked Bukauskas down with an overhand right and as Bukauskas was getting up, landed a right uppercut and then a left hook to put him down again. The referee jumped in to stop the fight before more damage was done. Crute looked great and his power was straight up scary. He won a well deserved performance of the night bonus. Congratulations on the $50,000 Jimmy Crute.
3. Underdog Guram Kutateladze defeated Mateusz Gamrot by a razor thin split decision in what was the fight of the night. Both fighters had something to prove as they made their UFC debuts and the fight delivered. 2 judges scored the fight 29-28 for Kutateladze and 1 judge scored it 29-28 for Gamrot showing just how close this fight was. This was a back and forth battle between the 2 debutants and I actually scored it in favor of Gamrot, and Kutateladze also believed that he lost the fight as he said in his post fight interview. Either way, it was an exciting fight and congratulations to both fighters on their bonus.