what’s-next-for-brian-ortega?

UFC Long Island entertained fans with an exciting evening of fights this past weekend (Sat., July 16, 2022) that included one exciting finish after another. That also meant a lot of fighters were sent home feeling the post-fight blues, including Miesha Tate, who suffered a bloody loss at the hands of Lauren Murphy (see it here).

And Michelle Waterson, who was forced to tap after Amanda Lemos caught her in an air-tight guillotine choke (replay here). But, which fighter is feeling the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show inside UBS Arena?

Brian Ortega.

Coming into his Featherweight bout against Yair Rodriguez, “T-City” was looking to deliver an exciting, winning performance coming off a loss to division kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski, nine months ago. Another win would’ve put him right back into the thick of the championship picture, especially since Max Holloway recently came up short in what could be his final title fight (at least at Featherweight) for some time.

Things started off at a swift pace, with both men looking to implement their gameplans to seize control of the fight early on, with Rodriguez finding success in the striking exchanges, tagging Ortega with some clean strikes. On that note, “T-City” showed just how strong his chin is/was.

Ortega soon went to his bread-and-butter (grappling) a few minutes into the bout, pushing Rodriguez up against the fence looking for a takedown, which proved to be a tough task. Once he did score the takedown, though, disaster struck.

After Rodriguez attacked with an armbar, Ortega immediately went on the defense. As he tried to escape from the submission, his right shoulder popped out of place, sending “T-City” to his back in pain and giving Rodriguez the technical knockout win.

It was a tough way to go out, especially since Ortega claimed he was winning the fight for the four minutes it lasted.

“Everything was going my way,” he said post-fight. “Literally, I was winning every minute of the fight. I was sticking to the gameplan because I do get emotional. For one second we started throwing and I was like, ‘All right, let’s start throwing,’ and I go, ‘No, let’s stick to the gameplan.’

“And the world saw, I was about to show what I do best, which is grapple and take control,” he continued. “And the second we hit the ground it just … my freaking arm just came out. I got no words, man.”

For now, Ortega has to wait and see if he will undergo shoulder surgery for a third time. If he can avoid it, it will mean that he can return to action much sooner, maybe before the year is over.

In the meantime, the 145-pound weight class will continue to hum right along while Ortega is on the mend. If “T-City” doesn’t need surgery and is able to return in late 2022 or early 2023, there could be some juicy match ups waiting for him, including a rematch against Max Holloway or a fresh showdown against Calvin Kattar.

Thoughts?


For complete UFC Long Island results and coverage click here.