Each week, we’ll launch a brand new MMA combine tape entitled “The Remix” that appears again at not solely the most important tales of the final seven days, however a few of the ones that aren’t getting sufficient consideration too, with some weekly awards and a prospect to look at going ahead added in for good measure.

“Blessed” is greatest

Max Holloway is a celebrity, no matter what the pay-per-view purchase charges and Struggle Week site visitors suggests.

Watching the featherweight champion efficiently retain his title Saturday night time in Toronto in a blistering efficiency in opposition to the previously-unbeaten — and favored — Brian Ortega, it grew to become clear that the UFC’s seek for the following celebrity champion to construct round has ended and may have ended a 12 months in the past.

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Previous to his rematch with Jose Aldo final 12 months in Detroit, I questioned why Holloway wasn’t getting the identical “future celebrity remedy” that had been afforded to Cody Garbrandt prematurely of his title protection in opposition to TJ Dillashaw a month earlier. A 12 months later, the miscalculation feels much more pronounced, as Garbrandt has subsequently dropped a second consecutive struggle to Dillashaw and Holloway has cemented his standing as the most effective fighters on the planet.

Though this 12 months has been a attempting one for the Hawaiian champion, his efficiency on Saturday night time at Scotiabank Area prolonged his profitable streak to a baker’s dozen and put any issues about his well being to mattress by taking one of the best Ortega needed to supply and firing again with two-, three- and four-punch mixtures.

He spent your complete struggle speaking to the challenger and taking part in to the gang earlier than calling his shot at first of the fourth spherical and forcing the struggle to be stopped earlier than the ultimate spherical may start. Alongside the best way, he set a report for essentially the most vital strikes landed in a single struggle and made a harmful, undefeated Ortega appear to be he had no enterprise being within the Octagon with him at occasions.

Holloway is an all-time expertise who stays extra eager about going through the hardest challenges attainable and proving himself moderately than cherry-picking names and transitioning into the whiskey enterprise.

He’s an electrical competitor contained in the cage, charming exterior of the cage and universally revered by his contemporaries and the hardcore fan base… and he simply turned 27 a pair days in the past.

Holloway as soon as once more confirmed on Saturday night time that when it issues most, he’s every little thing you can probably need in a cornerstone expertise. He wasn’t preordained as a possible celebrity — he turned himself into one by laborious work, powerful fights, and an unwavering perception in his expertise — and simply because he doesn’t have grown males dwelling their lives as Max Holloway cosplayers doesn’t imply the dominant, entertaining featherweight champion doesn’t deserve the celebrity remedy from followers, media and the promotion going ahead.

No matter what number of items UFC 231 wound up shifting or how few informal followers know his identify, Holloway has confirmed himself to be a celebrity contained in the Octagon and for those who’re not all-in on the Hawaiian standout at this level, you’re actually lacking out.

Talking of fighters who’ve earned better acclaim and recognition…

How good is Valentina Shevchenko?

Saturday night time, “Bullet” dominated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to assert the vacant flyweight title, outworking the Polish celebrity from the outset to lastly deliver her yearlong pursuit of UFC gold to a detailed. After mauling an overmatched Priscila Cachoeira in her divisional debut, the Kyrgyzstani standout showcased her fluid approach and fully-stocked arsenal of expertise to seize the belt, getting the higher of Jedrzejczyk in each body, regardless of what that commentary group may need led you to imagine.

The 30-year-old is now 5-2 within the UFC with victories over two former champions, the present Invicta FC bantamweight champ and a high contender who had been on a pleasant run of success. Each of her setbacks got here in opposition to reigning bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes — the primary in a three-round struggle the place Shevchenko was rallying again within the ultimate body and the second in a five-round championship affair that might have gone both means.

Although she throws stunning spinning kicks, there isn’t something significantly flashy about Shevchenko’s sport. She’s a tactician and a life-long martial artist who travels the world coaching, capturing weapons and detailing her adventures on Instagram. Whereas English isn’t her first language, her trash discuss sport is delicate and clean.

The UFC has struggled to advertise girls who aren’t Ronda Rousey or Paige VanZant, however like Holloway, Shevchenko’s accomplishments and skills within the cage ought to be leveraged as a serious promoting level going ahead. She’s an exceptional expertise with the potential to reign over the flyweight division for an prolonged time frame and unfinished enterprise with Nunes as bantamweight.

Whereas Jedrzejczyk envisioned establishing herself as the best fighter of all-time on the ladies’s aspect of the game at UFC 231, it changed into a possibility for Shevchenko to take one other step in the direction of that very same vacation spot as a substitute.

Cease attempting to mess with divisions

Final week, Dana White took yet one more shot at welterweight champ Tyron Woodley, suggesting “The Chosen One” isn’t accessible to defend his title and that he was contemplating an interim title struggle between Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman.

It was an odd assertion on condition that Woodley efficiently defend the belt in September and has been probably the most energetic champions within the group since ascending to the welterweight throne at UFC 201 and that Covington was simply stripped on an interim title not that way back for no actual motive in anyway.

Following Saturday’s occasion, the UFC president acknowledged he wished to see Holloway transfer as much as light-weight, saying there are a whole lot of fascinating fights accessible to him within the Prime 5.

You understand who else there are a whole lot of fascinating matchups for within the light-weight Prime 5? The precise fighters within the light-weight Prime 5!

One of many many issues folks ought to take away from Saturday’s epic featherweight title bout is that you simply don’t must have fighters altering divisions and cobble collectively fights between main names so as to have one thing particular occur contained in the Octagon. Holloway and Ortega labored their method to the highest of the featherweight division organically after which paired as much as placed on a present.

Wouldn’t it be cool to finally see the Hawaiian combating in a better weight class and working it again with Dustin Poirier or Conor McGregor or taking up the likes of Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmagomedov?Completely, however there are contenders at featherweight who absolutely need their probability to dethrone the present champion and tenured lightweights who don’t wish to get bumped out of place within the title chase so as to accommodate Holloway. The identical goes for welterweight, the place Woodley has confirmed himself as the highest fighter within the division and shouldn’t get handled like a long-term holdout who by no means defends his belt.

As I wrote final week, the UFC must cease attempting to combine and match champions and shuffling names into and out of various divisions. Simply let issues progress naturally. Even when there are optimistic short-term returns, there’s a better detrimental influence in the long term and that ought to be the corporate’s chief concern.

Let these divisions bend and transfer and shift with out interference.

Don’t be in such a rush to toss stuff random collectively; simply make the fights that make sense, see how issues shake out and go from there.

Struggle of the Weekend: Max Holloway def. Brian Ortega at UFC 231

Thiago Santos’ win over Jimi Manuwa was sloppy enjoyable, however there is no such thing as a doubt that one of the best bout of the weekend was Holloway’s systematic destruction of the gutsy, sport and tough-as-all-get-out Ortega in Saturday’s UFC 231 important occasion.

This was Holloway at his punch-taking, combo-throwing, trash-talking, high-volume greatest and whereas Ortega by no means backed down and had some moments of his personal, this was finally “The Blessed Present” and we have been all witness.

Holloway’s potential to change stances and keep his circulation whether or not working from orthodox or southpaw is a bit of his brilliance that doesn’t get talked about sufficient.

Think about how troublesome it’s to organize for him combating out of 1 stance, however then he can do all the identical issues on the similar tempo with the identical influence from one other stance as nicely. He confuses you along with his appears to be like and buries you with quantity, plus he’s obtained that Robbie Lawler factor the place he takes your greatest pictures, smiles and retains urgent ahead working for him and you realize that messes with fighters after they’re in there.

This was a very masterful efficiency.

Submission of the Weekend: Vitaly Bigdash by Submission Combo Platter at ONE: Future of Champions

The previous middleweight champion obtained again into the win column for the primary time in practically two years by hitting a three-piece meal on Yuki Niimura close to the top of the primary spherical of their important card conflict on Friday in Kuala Lumpur.

Bigdash linked on an inverted triangle and armbar, with somewhat little bit of a shoulder lock combined in there for good measure, and after some diligent defending and attempting to outlive — plus just a few elbows to the dome — Niimura had no alternative however to faucet.

The 34-year-old Russian misplaced the middleweight strap to Aung La Nsang in June 2016 after beating him by cut up determination 5 months earlier, however a rubber match between the 2 has but to return collectively. Maybe now with Bigdash coming off a key win and “The Burmese Python” brief on challengers, they’ll run it again for a 3rd time in 2019.

Knockout of the Weekend: Dhiego Lima def. Chad Laprise by KO (left hook) at UFC 231

Stroll-off knockouts are nice and so they’re even higher after they’re of the “one shot, one kill” selection like this one.

Laprise was controlling the motion by the opening 90 seconds, pressuring Lima, touchdown some good pictures and discovering his rhythm. However the Canadian veteran dropped his arms and elevated his chin and the Georgia-based Brazilian discovered the mark with a no-doubt-about-it shot that required no follow-up.

A two-time TUF finalist who lives within the shadow of his older brother, Bellator standout Douglas Lima, this was a job-saving win for the 29-year-old, who improved to 2-5 within the Octagon and snapped a three-fight skid general with the victory.

Prospect to Watch after this Weekend: Jack Shore

Bantamweight is a division on the rise in MMA for the time being and one identify to look at going ahead is Jack Shore.

The 23-year-old Welshman moved to 10-Zero on Saturday with a third-round stoppage victory over the previously-unbeaten Mike Ekundayo to assert the Cage Warriors bantamweight title.

The British promotion has been a pipeline to the foremost North American organizations over time, particularly for its champions, and with the 135-pound ranks gaining steam, seeing Shore get tabbed to compete in Bellator MMA or the UFC in 2019 looks like a certain factor. In actual fact, with each the UFC and Bellator primed to carry reveals in the UK and all through Europe subsequent 12 months, don’t be shocked if Shore will get scooped up ahead of later.

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Whereas he hasn’t confronted a ton of acquainted names, “Tank” has completed inside the gap in 9 of his 10 appearances, displaying no actual desire between strikes (4) and submissions (5). Plus, he has super measurement for the division and solely turns 24 in February, so there’s nonetheless a ton of time for Shore to proceed gaining expertise and enhancing.

He’s an ideal 22-Zero contained in the cage, having gone 12-Zero as an novice earlier than turning professional, so clearly, Shore isn’t just a few upstart on somewhat scorching streak. He’s a legit expertise with severe upside and somebody all struggle followers ought to be taking note of from right here on out.

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