UFC 231 is set for Saturday, December 8, at the promotion heads north of the border to Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. The main event is a featherweight title bout between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega. Holloway has put together two other terrific December bouts, including a brutal knockout of Jose Aldo at UFC 218 last year. The co-main event is a women’s flyweight title bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, as Jedrzejczyk already has won a strawweight title and is looking to become the first woman to win belts from different divisions. With these two fights atop the card, this should be a terrific night in the Octagon. We have your full fight card below, as well as our MMA betting thoughts on several of the bouts.
UFC 231 Odds & Expert Picks
- Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega (featherweight title bout)
- Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk (women’s flyweight title bout)
- Alex Oliveira vs Gunnar Nelson (welterweight)
- Hakeem Dawodu vs Kyle Bochniak (featherweight)
- Jimi Manuwa vs Thiago Santos (light heavyweight)
Preliminary Card (FS1):
- Claudia Gadelha vs Nina Ansaroff (women’s strawweight)
- Katlyn Chookagian vs Jessica Eye (women’s flyweight)
- Eryk Anders vs Elias Theodorou (middleweight)
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Gilbert Burns (lightweight)
Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass):
- Devin Clark vs Aleksandar Rakic (light heavyweight)
- Brad Katona vs Matthew Lopez (bantamweight)
- Chad Laprise vs Dhiego Lima (welterweight)
Max Holloway (19-3, -130) vs Brian Ortega (14-0, +110) gives us an enigma in the champ (Holloway) given the fact that he has pulled out of three consecutive fights. He was supposed to defend against Frankie Edgar but had a leg injury. He tried to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at the lightweight class, but the commission in New York thought he had cut weight too quickly to be safe. Then, he had concussion-like symptoms end up shutting down a defense against Ortega, but now he is all clear to fight. He is one of the best fighters in UFC, rebounding nicely from a debut loss to Conor McGregor to work his way to the top of the class.
Ortega is building a solid winning streak of his own in UFC. He got Mike de la Torre to tap in less than two minutes, but a failed steroid test put his career in jeopardy for a while. Then he started putting together a streak of wins via submission in the third round; he doesn’t win many rounds on the cards, but he has found a way to get opponents to the ground and choke them into submission. His uppercut against Frankie Edgar delivered a finish of a venerable contender in the first round of their bout. He fights to deliver a finish instead of accumulating points, which makes him exciting to watch. The question comes down to whether Holloway comes out at 100%, in which case we will see some terrific combinations using his hands and feet at a pace that should overwhelm Ortega. Of course, Ortega has put together a career of losing point after point until he sees an opening and delivers a quick finish. Holloway has the smarts to stay out of Ortega’s trap, so he is the smart pick, but this will be a close fight.
UFC 231 Prediction: Holloway wins via decision
Valentina Shevchenko (15-3, -340) vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-2, +280) is a bout for the vacant women’s flyweight title. Shevchenko has been frustrating for fight fans so far, as she has taken down such big names as Holly Holm and Julianna Pena, but then she has also lost twice to Amanda Nunes. The problem is that Shevchenko does not like to take risks, and when she fights against someone who focuses on finishing, you can end up watching both fighters dance around the Octagon, not doing much.
Jedrzejczyk had basically beaten all comers at the strawweight division, and her beatdown of Carla Esparza to win that title is still one of the more entertaining videos from women’s UFC. She produced another devastating finish over Jessica Penne, but since then she has moved into a kickboxer with an extremely accurate sense of range, and she can also fight in the clinch well. Then Jedrzejczyk lost a pair of bouts against Rose Namajunas, but then she bounced back with a big win over Tecia Torres. Shevchenko has beaten Jedrzejczyk in muay Thai competitions and looks to win via the clinch here. Despite the differential in the moneyline, this fight is closer than many bettors clearly think. The safe money goes on Shevchenko’s grappling skills, though.
UFC 231 Prediction: Shevchenko wins via decision