Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Ricardo Lamas squared off last night (June 4, 2016) at UFC 199 inside The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Holloway entered this bout on the longest win streak of any non-champion in the UFC. Of course, Holloway was looking to amend the second part of that statement and make his claim to a title shot with a win here.
Lamas already had won shot at the strap, but he couldn't make anything happen. Since then, Lamas has held onto his position in the top five and has been trying to rebuild momentum.
Lamas looked to open up with some outside kicks and jabs, but Holloway pressured his opponent and landed some early combos. Moments later, Holloway really swarmed on his opponent, tagging Lamas with punches to the head and body.
Following that exchange, Lamas switched up his approach and tried to wrestle. Unfortunately for him, Holloway defended the shots expertly and continued to pick him apart.
A solid wheel kick served as an exclamation point for a very strong round for the Hawaiian.
Holloway continued pressuring his opponent to start the next round, stabbing Lamas with long punches. However, Lamas begin to find his range a bit, landing his counter and some kicks.
After rocking Lamas, Holloway tried to swarm but got a bit too aggressive. Lamas landed some hard punches of his own, stunning his opponent. In a grappling exchange near the end of the round, Holloway nearly submitted Lamas twice, using a guillotine attempt to take top position and smash his opponent with some ground strikes.
It was a closer round than the first, but Lamas still took a beating.
Lamas was quite a bit more aggressive to start the third round, trying to bounce forward with punches. While he managed to land a couple of them, his opponent's volume and superior boxing skill gave him a comfortable lead.
On the whole, the third round was a bit slower than the previous two. However, Holloway answered Lamas' taunts to brawl in the final 10 seconds, cracking "The Bully" a few more times for good measure.
This was another kickboxing clinic by the Hawaiian. He's got a great build for his style, and he really has developed into an elite fighter in the last couple years. For the third or fourth time in a row, Holloway simply picked his opponent apart.
Holloway's combinations are really incredible. Beyond the fact that he manages distance and chooses his strikes well, Holloway simply keeps throwing. His conditioning is a major edge, as Holloway pushes out a huge number of quality combos.
It's difficult to deal with.
Additionally, Holloway's overall grappling has improved so much. Defensively, he's an extremely difficult man to take down, as he fully utilizes his length to defend single legs and repel clinch attempts.
Furthermore, Holloway's jiu-jitsu is now a serious factor. He's aggressively hunting for the guillotine at every opportunity, and it allowed him to take top position multiple times.
Wrestlers cannot simply shoot without worrying against him.
Unfortunately for Holloway, he deserves a title shot but the top of the division is busy right now. Really, the Hawaiian should simply stay in shape on the decent chance that either Frankie Edgar or Jose Aldo gets injured.
This was a rough loss for Lamas. He landed some decent punches and hard low kicks, but he simply didn't have an answer for Holloway's kickboxing once his takedowns failed.
Across much of his career, Lamas' big issue has always been that he's not a great boxer. He can definitely punch, but Lamas looked outmatched when trading punches with his younger foe.
Unfortunately, Lamas has now lost to a few of the division's top contenders. In order to get back into the title mix, Lamas needs to make some improvements and go on a solid win streak.
Until then, he's no longer a player.
Last night, Max Holloway continued his winning ways with a decision victory over Ricardo Lamas. Is Holloway a future champion?
For complete UFC 199: "Rockhold vs Bisping" results and play-by-play, click HERE!