Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight kickboxers Max Holloway and Jose Aldo clashed last night (Dec. 2, 2017) at UFC 218 inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Holloway has been perfect as of late. Outside of his last bout with Aldo — which he finished violently in the third round — the Hawaiian hasn’t just been winning fights, he’s been utterly dominating and winning every round. Holloway made his intentions of beginning the “Blessed Era” clear, and that starts by turning away Aldo a second time.
Much was made of Aldo’s mentality prior to this bout. He was reportedly healthy and fully-motivated, ready to regain his title. Before the bell rang, however, it was still hard to say whether Aldo was still being pulled towards professional boxing or chasing Conor McGregor or if he was truly focused on his opponent.
Holloway worked behind his straight shots to begin the fight, but Aldo stayed just out of range before attacking with a flurry and low kick. Afterward, Holloway’s jab began to connect, but Aldo feinted into exchanges well.
A second low kick scored for the Brazilian.
Aldo’s pace remained fairly low, but he was swinging heavily. Holloway, meanwhile, stayed relax and continued to stab with the jab, which was landing with some consistency. Holloway did a nice job of avoiding most shots, and he also targeted the body more frequently.
Aldo tagged him with a big uppercut to finish a close round.
Holloway’s straight shots were getting closer to their target, but Aldo answered with another low kick. Holloway’s jab was his most consistent weapon, as his power shots were still missing, but the Hawaiian’s left was snapping Aldo’s head back well. On the whole, Holloway seemed to be dictating the range well, but a trio of low kicks from Aldo did some real damage.
Holloway clearly didn’t like the low kicks, but he kept up his offense regardless. In the final minute, Holloway took advantage of Aldo slowing down by driving into the clinch and ripping body shots. Then, he released the flood gates, firing shots and jumping into knees.
Aldo didn’t absorb anything too major, but he also looked a bit tired.
Aldo picked his moments well to start the third, stepping into a knee and landing an elbow on the break that did damage. Meanwhile, Holloway kept the pressure on. Even when Aldo flurried and landed some seriously hard punches directly to the jaw, Holloway did not back off his opponent.
Holloway turned the fight into a brawl, standing directly in front of Aldo and firing. Aldo landed at first, but Holloway just kept shooting out quick punches. At first, the exchanges were even, but Aldo was loading up too much. It cost his gas tank, and Holloway just kept firing shots.
Before long, Holloway was swarming the Brazilian. Switching stance in the pocket, Holloway threw relentless combinations and targeted the body. Aldo was hurt badly and shot for a desperation takedown, resulting in Holloway gaining top position. From there, he continued the onslaught and forced a stoppage.
On the surface, this was a very similar fight to Holloway’s first win over Aldo. There were a couple of differences, but the biggest one was the final round. Last time, Holloway pulled and countered, whereas this time Holloway stayed directly in front of Aldo and invited the exchanges.
By that point, Aldo was tired enough that Holloway fully trusted his chin, and that decision paid off.
Additionally, Holloway worked the body more in this bout. He never landed the one-shot killer that landed last time, but Holloway thoroughly broke his foe down until the finish materialized.
Let’s run that Frankie Edgar match again, but let’s be honest, betting against Max Holloway right now is silly.
Aldo did fight with more intelligence this time around as well. He returned to his low kicks, and they were his most significant strikes of the fight. Additionally, his defense was sharp for the first two rounds, as Aldo’s head movement worked in combination very well with his clinch to defend against a lot of Holloway’s early strikes.
Sadly, Aldo just couldn’t keep up. Holloway never took his foot off the gas, and Aldo slowly became a less dangerous fighter. The low kicks could’ve helped, but Aldo tired before he was able to do enough damage to throw the Hawaiian off.
What’s next for Aldo? Perhaps the Lightweight division. Retirement is also an option, although Aldo has expressed interest in boxing as well.
Last night, Max Holloway defended his title with a third-round knockout win. How long will Holloway hold the strap?
For complete UFC 218: “Holloway vs. Aldo 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!