A new featherweight contender emerged Saturday in Fresno, as Brian Ortega was able to overcome a slow start and get the submission. Richard Mann is back for his weekly stats-based breakdown.
Fantasy AnalysisOrtega is probably at the best spot he can be from a leverage standpoint, as he's unbeaten as a professional and is coming off the biggest win of his career against highly-regarded veteran Cub Swanson. The 26-year-old could be looking at a title shot in 2018, though he'll likely have to wait in line behind Frankie Edgar for the next shot at current champion Max Holloway. Should a bout with Holloway eventually get booked, it would represent an intriguing clash of styles. Holloway's strength lies in his striking and seemingly never-ending cardio/pace, while Ortega is more of a submission specialist, gaining seven of his 13 wins via tapout. Should Ortega continue his pattern of slow starts, he'll be at risk of getting battered by Holloway early, though the champion will need to be on high alert if Ortega can get the fight to the ground. Stay tuned for an update on Ortega's next move.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez doesn't have any concrete plans for a fight just yet, but seeing that he's back to training is certainly a positive sign. Though Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic are currently set to fight in February, the winner of the matchup would be an excellent fight for Cain, unless he decides to book a "tune-up fight" first. Velasquez, a former heavyweight champion, has not stepped into the Octagon since a UFC 200 victory over Travis Brown in July 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisAskham had been with the UFC since 2014 and maintains a 14-4 record (2-4 UFC). The fighter lost back-to-back bouts via decision prior to being released from the promotion earlier this year. A former BAMMA champion, he came back with a win at ACB 70 and has recently signed a brief three-fight contract with KSW.
Fantasy AnalysisSwanson's last fight on his contract was a submission loss to Brian Ortega on Saturday in Fresno. The fighter has been with the promotion since 2011 and boasts a 25-8 career record (10-4 UFC). He was nearing a shot at the featherweight title until the loss this weekend broke a four-fight winning streak. With his contract up, Swanson will begin negotiations with UFC President Dana White after the holiday season.
Fantasy AnalysisSakara has been experiencing a late-career resurgence in Bellator. This is the third Italian Bellator event the Italian has headlined since signing with the promotion last year. In his first two trips to the Bellator cage, he scored wins over Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran in light heavyweight fights. For this fight, he dropped to middleweight to challenge for the belt. Unfortunately for him, he could not withstand the power of Carvalho. He falls to 18-12 as a professional for the 15-year veteran.
Fantasy AnalysisCarvalho's unexpected middleweight title reign is starting to produce some highlight reel finishes. In his last fight, he stopped veteran kickboxer Melvin Manhoef in the fourth round with a brutal kick. In this fight, he need less than a minute to stop Sakara with an elbow. There is not much to say about this fight other than the fact that Carvalho has big power and is learning how to use it. This fight sets up his next title defense against former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi. Carvalho has obviously improved, but most would concede that he will be an underdog against Mousasi.
Fighters Who May Be Returning Soon