The UFC is lucky it’s got guys like Frankie Edgar on the roster who are willing to step up when needed to save a card. Edgar was originally set to fight featherweight champ Max Holloway at UFC 222 until an injury took Max off the card. But rather than wait on the sidelines for his shot, Edgar decided to stay on the card and take on the very tricky jiu-jitsu ace Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega.
Ortega is 13-0 with stoppage wins over names like Cub Swanson, Clay Guida, and Thiago Tavarez. But Edgar is the prospect killer: he beat the brakes off of Matrix martial artist Yair Rodriguez last May and is now looking to do the same to the 27-year-old Ortega. But Ortega’s grappling skillset lines up nicely with Frankie’s wrestling base. Did Frankie make a mistake taking this fight?
The answer is yes. Edgar’s boxing skills had Ortega moving backward through the first round, but coming into the final minute Ortega caught Edgar with a huge elbow that stunned the former champ. He followed that up with a massive uppercut that landed flush on Edgar’s jaw, absolutely flattening him onto the canvas. The fight was called at 4:44 of round one, with Ortega getting the satisfaction of being the first fighter to ever finish Frankie Edgar.
Ortega now supplants Edgar as the #1 contender for the featherweight belt currently held by Max Holloway. Based on what we just witnessed at UFC 222, Holloway’s job just got a whole lot more challenging. As for Edgar, one unlikely person reached out to the fallen featherweight with his condolences: Conor McGregor.
McGregor claims he was willing to step up to fight Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 222, but how close the whole thing came to happening remains a bit murky. Regardless, it’s nice seeing the Champ Champ showing some respect for a fallen warrior. Frankie Edgar will be back, and we imagine he’ll continue to chop down future wannabe contenders for years to come.