A new featherweight title contender has emerged after Brian Ortega tapped out Cub Swanson with a nasty guillotine choke in his first UFC main event.
Ortega had been considered a dark horse in the division after racking up several wins in a row inside the Octagon, including four consecutive third round finishes.
This time around, Ortega didn’t need to get to the third round, as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt earned his third submission since joining the UFC roster in 2014.
As the fight got underway, Swanson was quick on his feet in the opening round, throwing punches in bunches trying to keep Ortega on his toes. Swanson launched every shot with power behind it as he kept head hunting on Ortega, who showed no signs of nervousness in his first UFC main event.
Late in the round, Swanson nearly made a fatal mistake getting locked up in the clinch with Ortega, who wasted no time grabbing onto an anaconda choke and dropping to the mat to look for the submission.
Swanson’s aggression didn’t slow down in the second round but Ortega was calm, cool and collected while playing defense on the feet and then countering by inching closer and closer to get the clinch to show off his world class grappling skills.
Ortega got his wish during a scramble against the cage and he saw an opening to grab onto Swanson’s neck with a guillotine choke before jumping to pull guard, knowing that his submission was in tight.
Swanson did his best to resist the choke but Ortega was not letting go until he got the finish and a few seconds later he felt an emphatic tap on his back as the referee jumped into stop the contest.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 10, 2017
The official time was 3:22 into the second round as Ortega picks up his fifth straight win in the UFC and the biggest of his career against a perennial top five opponent like Swanson.
The victory undoubtedly moved Ortega into title contention but rather than demand a shot at champion Max Holloway, he opted to allow Frankie Edgar to fight for the championship as planned and he’ll gladly face the winner in 2018.
“So I know Frankie Edgar got injured, I’m not cocky enough, I’m going to respectfully wait for him to get his shot with Max Holloway,” Ortega said. “See how that goes and hopefully I can just wait it out a little bit and the winner between them, I can get the shot at if it’s a possibility.”
— UFC (@ufc) December 10, 2017
It’s going to be tough to deny Ortega considering the current landscape at 145 pounds, especially after he took out Swanson, who was vying for a shot at the title himself following several impressive wins in a row.
With the loss on Saturday night, Swanson does find himself in a tough spot as he enters free agency following the last fight on his UFC contract as he looks to ink a new deal with the promotion or potentially move onto a new home after spending most of his career fighting inside the Octagon.