News broke yesterday that Max Holloway has been forced to withdraw from his title defence against Frankie Edgar. Holloway was set to make his second featherweight title defence against Edgar at UFC 222 on March 3rd. However, Holloway has sustained a leg injury in training; Edgar’s opportunity to become a two-weight champion has eluded him again.
The bout was planned as a huge PPV double bill for the UFC. Holloway and Edgar shared a press conference this month with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. This is because the plan was to see the featherweight belt on the line in March and the lightweight belt contested in April.
Ariel Helwani is now reporting that the UFC are planning to re-book Frankie Edgar against Brian Ortega on the same card. This would be a non-title fight so the UFC are moving the 145 pound clash to the co-main. They are seeking a new championship fight for the main event.
That new main event could come in the form of a bantamweight title rematch Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw 2 is being discussed for the March card. Back in November, Cody Garbrandt lost his 135 pound title to current champion and long time rival, TJ Dillashaw. ‘No Love’ of course snatched up the opportunity at a rematch and sounded off on Twitter.
Camp Dillashaw sound less than enthused about the idea. Duane Ludwig wants TJ to wait for a superfight with flyweight pound-for-pound king, Demetrious Johnson. He also argued that Garbrandt should earn his rematch. TJ brought up Garbrandt’s unborn child as a reason for him not to take the fight. It is clear to see that there is still ‘No Love’ lost between these two.
Although the bantamweight title rematch is unlikely, there is a narrative for both potential replacement bouts. Brian Ortega has been on a tear through the division of late. In his last bout, he submitted a top contender in Cub Swanson. Ortega could prove himself in that bout and place himself in the title conversation. Edgar, could once again take out a young rising star and live up to his image as the dream killer.
The first bout between Garbrandt and Dillashaw left some questions unresolved. As Cody pointed out in his tweet, Dillashaw had to be helped to his sound at the end of the first round. What would happen if that round was ten seconds longer? There were also some questions about the speed of the stoppage.
The UFC are looking at booking women’s featherweight champion, Cris Cyborg against her bantamweight counterpart, Amanda Nunes. Therefore, whatever happens, MMA fans are in for a treat in the next few months.