The Featherweight Championship was on the line in the headliner of UFC 231 which took place on December 8, 2018 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The title bout was a blistering affair pitting the legendary Max Holloway - who was enjoying a 12 fight win streak since his last defeat versus Conor McGregor way back in 2013 at Fight Night 26 - against the undefeated Brian Ortega.
Ortega was favoured in some circles due to his incredible will to win and ability to get the job done no matter what. However, Holloway put on one of the finest performances you are ever likely to see as he withstood Ortega's best shots and delivered a masterclass in control and pressure.
The fourth round was an incredible spectacle as Holloway destroyed Ortega with combinations to the head and body repeatedly until the challenger looked like he had been in a car wreck as blood poured out of his head. The doctors understandably waved the fight off after the conclusion of the round and Holloway was declared the victor and remained Featherweight Champion of the World.
The co-headliner saw the Women's Flyweight title decided as the champion, Valentina Shevchenko saw off the challenge of the former lynchpin of the Strawweight division, Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
Shevchenko proved she was the queen of her division with a composed performance, where she completely nullified Joanna's striking and had the answer for everything whilst inflicting some brutal combinations of her own. Shevchenko isn't always easy on the eye in terms of fighting style but boy is she effective. She won every round on her way to a Unanimous Decision victory.
Gunnar Nelson beat Alex Oliveira via rear naked choke in fight memorable for the horrific cut Nelson opened up on Oliveira which made the fight one-way traffic from that point on. It didn't appear that Nelson even had the choke locked in before Oliveira tapped out. Likely, due to the blood loss, he was unable to think clearly or maybe wanted to get out of the Octagon for some medical attention. Either way, Nelson was the winner via Submission.
Hakeem Dawodu beat Kyle Bochniak in a snooze fest. Bochniak offered little and Dawodu picked him apart over three rounds to earn the Decision win. Incredibly, it was a Split Decision. Unbelievable to think that one judge thought Bochniak deserved to win but at least Dawodu was awarded victory by the other judges and justice prevailed.
Thiago Santos turned back the challenge of Jimi Manuwa in one of the most hard-hitting bouts you are ever likely to witness. Both just unloaded on each other with big, brutal shots. It was inevitable one of them would end up crumpled on the canvas and that is precisely what happened to Manuwa as Santos caught him with a beautiful left hand that knocked Manuwa out.
UFC 231 was a terrific card and did the business on pay per view too, pulling in close to 300,000 buys; an impressive number in the current climate.