MMASucka’s Knockout of the Month for March 2018: Brian Ortega finishes the unfinishable Frankie Edgar

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Much like this month’s Submission of the Month, the winner of Knockout of the Month was decided in one of the first events of March 2018.

In February, the Knockout of the Month was Akhmet “Butcher” Aliev wheel-kicking his was to Fight Nights Global gold.

In March, however, we saw a tremendous amount of knockouts. Despite this, none were better than Brian “T-City” Ortega doing the unthinkable against lightweight legend Frankie “The Answer” Edgar.

MMASucka’s Knockout of the Month for March 2018: Brian Ortega finishes the unfinishable Frankie Edgar

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On March 3, 2018, Brian Ortega stepped in on short notice to face Frankie Edgar – who was originally slated to fight champion Max Holloway – at UFC 222 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The stakes were high, as it was one of the most obvious #1 contender bouts in UFC history. The winner undoubtedly earned a shot at Max Holloway later this year. Would former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar add featherweight gold to his resume, or would the undefeated former RFA title-holder punch his ticket to a shot at UFC gold?

Though the bout was technically the night’s co-main event, it for sure had the feel of a massive fight immediately.

It was impossible to not notice very early on the size difference here. Height and reach were very much in Ortega’s favor, but Edgar has made a career of proving that statistics like that mean virtually nothing.

Despite Frankie Edgar being an elite wrestler, and having a knack for dominating guys on the mat, he was facing a man known almost exclusively for his chokes in Brian Ortega. So Edgar settled for a more strike-centric approach. Utilizing his crafty footwork to land nice jabs and set up slick combos early.

Ortega was unphased by this. He remained calm and collected, even managing to land some nice shots of his own on Frankie Edgar. The two fought at a methodical pace until the tides turned with 30-seconds remaining in the first round.

Brian Ortega landed a beautiful elbow on the feet, wobbling Frankie Edgar. This wasn’t the craziest thing ever, as Frankie Edgar has been wobbled tons throughout his career, but he has made a name for himself by always coming back from that and somehow winning in the end. So surely that would continue here, right?

Wrong. Ortega began to flurry a visibly hurt Edgar. And about 10-seconds after the initial elbow, he landed a crushing uppercut that quite literally sent Frankie Edgar airborne. That was the fight-ending blow.

Brian Ortega – a man whose nickname emphasizes how deadly his triangle chokes are – became the first man to finish Frankie Edgar in his near 30-fight career. And he did so via something no one saw coming; vicious knockout.

Ortega improves to 14-0 and earns his shot at UFC gold against Max Holloway later this year in what will be one of the biggest featherweight fights of all time. Forget the KO, though. Check out Ortega’s post-fight interview after the biggest win of his career. Nothing but absolute class.

Check out a nice list of honorable mentions for Knockout of the Month below!


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