After huge win at UFC Mexico, is a title eliminator next for Brian Ortega?

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Mexico, we saw a big time matchup in the featherweight division. Former two-time title challenger Brian “T-City” Ortega (16-3) was making his return against former interim champion Yair Rodriguez (18-5).

This was the first fight for Ortega since 2022 and his last fight was also against Yair Rodriguez. When they first fought, they ended up on the ground late in the first round and Ortega was going for a submission. In doing so, his shoulder popped out of place and the fight was stopped because of the injury.

It’s been a long road back but Ortega was ready to go on Saturday night. The fight started out rough for Ortega as he was dropped twice in the opening round by Rodriguez. Rodriguez looked moments away from getting a stoppage, however, Ortega survived to see the second round.

In the second round, Ortega completely dominated Rodriguez using his grappling. A tired Rodriguez looked to be in trouble and Ortega took advantage in the third round. He immediately took him down and moved to mount. From there, he got an arm triangle and Rodriguez tapped giving Ortega the huge win at UFC Mexico.

What’s next after UFC Mexico?

This was such a massive win for Ortega who is not right back in the title picture. Outside of his lopsided losses to Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, Ortega has taken out all other contenders. I’m not really counting the first Rodriguez fight due to the way it ended and he just proved he could win that fight this past weekend.

Ilia Topuria is now the king of the featherweight division and him and Ortega have never crossed paths. With that, Ortega has new life in the UFC’s featherweight division. That said, I don’t believe he’ll be next for the title. I think he needs one more win and I think he’s best positioned to go into a title eliminator next.

Movsar Evloev is right at the very top of the featherweight division as well. The matchup between these two is incredibly intriguing and I would love to see them go head-to-head with the winner facing Topuria at some point in 2024.

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