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Brian Ortega Willing to Wait on Holloway-Edgar Winner in Order to Receive Title Shot


With his second-round submission of perennial championship hopeful
Cub
Swanson
, Brian
Ortega
put his own title dreams front and center.

“T-City” submitted Swanson with a guillotine choke 3:22 into the
second round in the UFC Fight Night 123 main event at the Save Mart
Center in Fresno, Calif., on Saturday night. The victory was
Ortega’s fifth straight in the Octagon and improved him to 12-0
with one no contest overall in his professional tenure.

Had Swanson been victorious, he would have undoubtedly called for a
future crack at featherweight gold. After earning the signature
victory of his career, Ortega is no different — and he is willing
to wait to get his shot.

“I want to see how Frankie
Edgar
is feeling. No disrespect to any fighter. I know this is
a job; it is for me as well. I know he’s been around the game for a
while and he’s had a lot of shots at the title. I feel like he
deserves one more for his career,” Ortega said on Fox Sports 1.
“He’s done great. I’m willing to just wait. I’m gonna go with my
team, get better, keep perfecting my craft and come back in 2018
and see if I can secure that belt.”

Reigning champion Max
Holloway
is coming off his first successful title defense in a
rematch against Jose Aldo in
the UFC 218 headliner. Holloway was originally scheduled to face
Edgar at the event before “The Answer” withdrew due to injury. It
seems likely that the promotion will rebook Edgar against Holloway
at some point in 2018.

While Ortega has set himself up nicely in the featherweight
division, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for “T-City” on Saturday
night. Swanson looked extremely comfortable on his feet throughout,
outlanding his opponent by a 60-to-24 count in significant strikes
on the evening. Still, Ortega was able to hang tough in the
exchanges.

“I felt good. I felt his punches. I was taking them,” Ortega said.
“He was very slippery. I knew he was going to be like that. I was
trying to play the game. Every time I threw he was slipping and
moving. He was well prepared for my style. I’ve got a chin. I can
take a hit. I thought he was going to try to stand and bang with
me, try to get like a Doo Ho Choi
fight going on, but he was just moving around too much. I wanted to
bang, but I could tell he was being more strategic. I just had to
figure out his pace, and once I did, I figured out that he was more
submission prone than knockout prone. I had to switch the brain up
and go for the kill.”

Ortega got an initial idea of where his advantage would lie late in
round one, when he quickly ensnared Swanson in choke and applied a
serious squeeze on the ground. However, time was limited in the
frame and Swanson was able to survive.

“I could feel him gargling a little bit and I knew the 10-second
mark was there, and I was like, ‘Come on man.’ I squeezed for dear
life,” Ortega said. “I was counting in my head….And then I was
like, ‘This guy’s holding on. He’s a veteran. He’s tricky.’ So
that’s it. I’m gonna chill, I’m gonna take advantage of this and
I’m gonna get him in the second round.”

After trading with Swanson for a while in round two, that’s exactly
what Ortega was able to do, as he sucked his foe into the clinch,
jumped guard and secured an arm-in guillotine. Swanson struggled to
escape, but Ortega simply tightened his grip. Moments later,
Swanson had no choice but to call it a night.

“At the end of the first round I realized his neck was out there
and I could grab it. I knew in the second round I’m just gonna
clinch up and when I get the neck I’m gonna wrap it up,” Ortega
said. “And that’s what I did.”



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