Brian Ortega played a calculated game, hitting Chan Sun Jung from distance with his jabs and then winning the close-in encounters with blistering counters to post a unanimous decision victory at UFC Fight Night at the Flash Forum, Abu Dhabi yesterday, Sunday, October 18, 2020.
In the co-main event Jessica Andrade made an electrifying debut at UFC women’s flyweight with shocking knockout victory over no. 1 contender Katlyn Chookagian.
Nearing the end of round 1 the two fighters clinched at the edge of the cage. Andrade connected with a hard right to Chookagian’s torso. Chookagian spun around in pain and tried to back pedal away.
Andrade jumped after her and connected with another body shot. The referee stopped the fight after Chookagian fell face down on the mat and Andrade started raining down ground and pound punishment.
Ortega was two years removed from a brutal TKO loss to Max Holloway at UFC 253. He virtually reinvented himself, assembling a whole new team of trainers to help him prepare for this fight.
“It was good. It felt good. I was getting the butterflies again like I said. I’m loving the training part. I’m loving the learning part. I’m loving the growing part. I’m loving the getting to be better in this fight game without just brawling like before,” said Ortega.
“I felt great to come back and trust my team with everything that we’ve been working hard to do and show the world.”
Ortega was cool and composed and won all five rounds 10-9 in all three judges’ scorecard. He and his team had devised a formula to win and he was disciplined and stuck to that through the five rounds of the fight.
“I knew I could do that (win) once I stuck to a game plan and not get emotional like I used to. I’ve been working with these guys for a while now. While everyone was watching the UFC and I kind of disappeared from the face of the earth,” said Ortega.
“I was in the freaking dungeon. I was down there grinding, looking at these fights (and telling myself) ‘Don’t worry. I’m gonna have my time. I’m gonna have my time.’ And I just kept with that mentality.”
Ortega said he expects to fight for the title against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski next.
“I watched his (Volkanovski) fights. Both of his fights with Max (Holloway). Very methodical. Very technical. The way he (Volkanovski) approached everything. I would obviously have to restudy everything again. Not only the two Max fights but his entire career and kind of brush up on more of his fights and go in there and do what I do and just give my best,” said Ortega.