MAX HOLLOWAY proved that lightning does strike twice, as he put on an exceptional display to beat Jose Aldo for the second time in 2017 and retain his UFC featherweight title at the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Holloway looked sharp from the outset and effortlessly picked off the Brazilian, who bravely fought back, showing flashes of the man who will go down as one of the greatest featherweight’s of all time, before he was stopped with nine seconds left in the third round.
The Hawaiian went through the gears with consummate ease, picking up the intensity as the rounds went on. He seemingly couldn’t miss with the right hand and the sheer speed that Holloway possesses was a joy to watch.
“Blessed” countered an oncoming Aldo in the first round working behind an excellent jab and solid body striking. Aldo wouldn’t be deterred early on, getting through on occasion, one in particular caught the eye, as even Holloway applauded him.
But, the 31-year-old former champion was cut under the right eye and couldn’t keep up with the younger man, who had already got the better of him back in June at UFC 212. The rematch took place due to the withdrawal of Holloway’s original opponent Frankie Edgar through injury.
Aldo started the second well, snapping in some nasty leg kicks, however he was always open to Holloway’s strikes. As the round wore on, Holloway stepped it up and began to pour on pressure, as he saw Aldo visibly wilting under it.
Holloway refused to sit back and was relentless in the third, never giving Aldo a second, as he closed in on the finish. The champion got the better of all the exchanges in which Aldo gave as good as he had left, but it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before Holloway would finish the job.
It came with nine seconds left, after an Aldo takedown attempt, Holloway got to top position and unleashed some sickening ground-and-pound. Aldo did everything he could to defend the strikes, but he had nothing left and Holloway didn’t let-up until the referee got in between them to stop the fight.
Holloway has now proven that he is one of the elite fighters in the UFC and his win streak, which he has been compiling since a split decision loss to Conor McGregor back in 2013, improves to 12. Edgar should get his shot next, however for Aldo, his storied career could well be coming to a close.
In the co-main event, Francis Ngannou confirmed his place as the next challenger to UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic with a thunderous uppercut that poleaxed Alistair Overeem in the first round of their clash.
It caps a huge rise for the Cameroonian who now resides in Las Vegas, who has put Overeem’s hopes of winning the UFC belt on the back burner once again. The fight with Miocic, who hasn’t fought since May, should happen early next year.
Henry Cejudo could also secure another shot at UFC gold in the flyweight division, as he dominated Sergio Pettis on the ground and secured a unanimous decision victory, 30-27 on all three cards.
The former Olympic gold medalist, had no trouble securing takedowns against Pettis and used his superior skillset to grind out the win. Current champion Demetrious Johnson’s, who got the better of Cejudo last year, future in the division is in doubt, so Cejudo will have to wait to see what the powers that be provide him with for next time.
Eddie Alvarez stopped Justin Gaethje, taking his unbeaten record in the process, in a highly anticipated fight that more than lived up to the hype. The two lightweights who served as the most recent coaches in the Ultimate Fighter series went to war over three rounds, before Alvarez dropped Gaethje with a hellacious knee and ended matters with some punches on his stricken opponent.
The two went back-and-forth with Alvarez always getting the better of the exchanges in a contender for Fight of the Year. It was awarded the bonus on the night. Gaethje landed some nasty leg kicks, but Alvarez found a home on his chin for his right hand and kept cracking him with it. Eventually Gaethje’s resilience buckled and Alvarez didn’t hold back as he was handed the stoppage win.
Tecia Torres edged closer to a title shot at new UFC Women’s Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas with a unanimous decision win over Michelle Waterson. It was scored 30-27 and 29-28 twice on the scorecards.
Torres’ was the sharper of the pair and her striking earned her a deserved win, although she struggled on the ground during the second round when Waterson controlled the majority after an easy takedown. However, Torres recovered well and got back to her game in the third to pick up the victory.
Sharing Fight of the Night honours with Alvarez and Gaethje were Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira, which saw Medeiros survive some hellacious moments and stop an exhausted “Cowboy” in the third by TKO due to punches.
Oliveira dominated the first round and at times Medeiros appeared on the verge of a stoppage defeat, as the Brazilian unloaded his arsenal of strikes on his chin. However, he slowed down significantly and Medeiros took over and picked up a huge victory that could see him enter the top 15 at welterweight. A rematch wouldn’t go amiss though first.
Paul Felder overcame a strong start from Charles Oliveira before ending their lightweight clash in the second round by TKO after some nasty elbows. Felder, who was originally scheduled to meet Al Iaquinta, has now won three straight since his loss last September to Francisco Trinaldo.
David Teymur won an exciting matchup at lightweight with Drakkar Klose by unanimous decision, 30-27 twice and 29-28 on the cards, whilst ranked women’s strawweight’s Felice Herrig and Cortney Casey met in a closely matched battle, which saw Herrig take a split decision, 29-28 twice and 28-29 on the cards.
On the Fight Pass portion of the card, Amanda Cooper picked up a big win, stopping Angela Magana with some nasty ground strikes in the women’s strawweight division, whilst Abdul Razak Alhassan also stopped Sabah Homasi with strikes, dropping Homasi by the cage, forcing the referee to step in and stop the action, despite Homasi’s protests.
Dominick Reyes proved too strong for Jeremy Kimball on the ground of their light-heavyweight battle, submitting him in the first round via a rear-naked choke, whilst Justin Willis opened the card with a bang, a left hand in the first round to be precise, flattening Allen Crowder in a heavyweight matchup.