This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Long Island, we saw a pivotal matchup in the featherweight division. Former two-time title challenger Brian Ortega (15-3, 1 NC) was set to take on Yair Rodriguez (14-3, 1 NC). Rodriguez was trying to earn a title shot with a victory.
However, Ortega was focused to turn him away. Brian Ortega has had a rough couple of years with injuries and a couple of brutal title fights. In Ortega’s two title fights against Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, he took a ton of damage and came up short. Most recently at UFC 266.
However, when he has competed against anyone but those two, he’s been sensational. Just see his fight against The Korean Zombie. At UFC Long Island, he was looking to show just how good he can be. He started the fight by immediately putting a lot of pressure on Yair Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was getting the better of the striking with his speed, but Ortega was hanging in there. Then, later in the first round, Ortega was able to get the fight to the ground. However, it was Rodriguez that attacked an armbar. Ortega had his arm in and tried to pull it out. When he did, he dislocated it and the fight was called off at UFC Long Island.
What’s next after UFC Long Island?
The loss and the way it happened is just brutal for Ortega. He’s already had to go under the knife twice on his shoulder and now he appears likely to have shoulder surgery once again after UFC Long Island. However, let’s hope for a quick recovery.
If Ortega is able to turn things around quickly, who should the UFC pair him with? Well, make no mistake about it, T-City is still one of the best featherweights in the world. He should fight one of the top guys and there’s one fight that makes a ton of sense.
That fight would be a matchup with Calvin Kattar. Kattar is coming off a loss to Josh Emmett who appears to be on a collision course with Yair Rodriguez. Whenever Ortega is good to go, pairing him with Kattar makes all the sense in the world.