Even though Conor McGregor’s shadow still loomed large, Featherweight champion Jose Aldo and interim 145-pound kingpin Max Holloway tonight (Sat., June 3, 2017) made a big step toward turning the page in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 212 inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Indeed, they both came to fight, but in the end, Holloway — despite an uncharacteristic slow start — was able to score an incredible technical knockout win in round three to become the undisputed Featherweight champion.
Both fighters came out of their corners with pep in their steps, bouncing side-to-side and looking to score early. Holloway pushed the pace early, following Aldo around the cage and looking to mix it up. However, Aldo was the first to make his mark, exploding with a combination that backed up Holloway to the fence, where Aldo landed a flying knee and a hard cross. Holloway seemed a bit dazed, but he circled out of danger quickly and regained his composure almost just as fast. The two were content to coast out the remained of the round, with Aldo getting the better of the exchanges and more than likely taking the opening round on the judges scorecards.
Aldo opened up round two with a hard liver shot, but Holloway was able to absorb it and fire back. Unfortunately for him, Aldo always seemed to be at the end of his punches. Indeed, Aldo scored with potshots as Holloway looked to put together combinations and close the distance. About three minutes in to the round, Holloway finally found a home for his headshots, but Aldo proved to be more than game, responding with hard shots of his own. Holloway began to finally land with consistency, as Aldo tried to beat him back with a very stiff (and effective) jab. Aldo connected with a nice left cross as the round came to a close and Holloway threw up his hands, demanding more, and “Scarface” was more than willing to oblige.
To start the third round, Aldo’s mouth was agape, perhaps revealing that he was beginning to tire. Holloway, meanwhile, darted out of his corner and immediately pressed the action. Aldo continued to pump the jab, but Holloway was content to eat them just to land a few hard shots of his own. Holloway continued to move forward with reckless abandon, baiting Aldo to stand and trade with him. Holloway drilled him with a straight left that dropped Aldo immediately. Holloway swarmed and landed hard shots as Aldo struggled to survive. Referee John McCarthy was keeping close watch as Holloway smashed Aldo’s face into a bloody mess from full mount. He angled for a rear-naked choke, but Aldo rolled out of danger. Holloway continued to pour on the pressure as Aldo turtled up and rolled to his knees in a defensive shell. He boxed Aldo’s ears relentlessly until McCarthy had no choice but to intervene. Aldo disputed the stoppage, but he was doing absolutely nothing to improve his position or defend himself.
Unbelievable! Max Holloway marched into Brazil and finished the greatest Featherweight fighter in UFC history in his own backyard to claim the undisputed 145-pound crown. That’s 11 consecutive wins for the Hawaiian, which is ridiculous when you really think about it. The last man to defeat Holloway? Yep, Conor McGregor back in Aug. 2013.
I’d say it’s high time for a rematch … sooner than later.