Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), left in a lurch when Conor McGregor walked away from his featherweight throne, started to sort things out in the 145-pound division with a championship unification bout at UFC 212. That’s where Jose Aldo and Max Holloway put their respective titles on the line last night (Sat., June 3, 2017) in the “Aldo vs. Holloway” pay-per-view (PPV) main event, taking place inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
For complete UFC 212 results and play-by-play click here.
For the first five minutes, it looked as though Holloway was in over his head. Aldo cracked him early with a vicious left hook, following up with a series of punches and a flush knee that seemed to put the fear of God in him. None of Holloway’s weapons, from the constant shifting to the division-best body attack, were in sight.
Then he woke up.
Holloway looked like a completely different fighter in the second round. In the words of Jack Slack, he simply fed Aldo too much data for “Scarface’s” counter-punching genius to deal with. Low-high combinations, hard body kicks, and a persistent right hand frustrated and overwhelmed the notoriously low-output Aldo until, in the third, a pair of 1-2s knocked him senseless.
I get that this is about Holloway and his victory with respect to the shadow of McGregor, but I have to take this opportunity to call out John McCarthy. He let Holloway beat the living tar out of Aldo for over a minute with practically nothing coming back. He dribbled his head off the canvas with practically every punch he threw and Aldo couldn’t improve position. This was almost Rockhold-Weidman or Lombard-Magny bad.
Now that that’s over with, let’s talk McGregor.
Between Holloway and Aldo’s respective losses to “The Notorious,” the former is the lesser blemish. “Blessed” was 21 when he fell to McGregor, still a mostly one-dimensional striker who hadn’t yet come into his power. It’s difficult to say what would happen in a rematch, but I can tell you with assurance that we wouldn’t see McGregor taking him down at will.
With the win over Aldo, I don’t believe it’s controversial at all to say Holloway has now surpassed McGregor’s achievements at 145 pounds. “Blessed” has five wins over the current division Top 10 to McGregor’s zero, after all.
Holloway deserves to be recognized as the division’s true champion. He got to a title shot the hard way, fighting 10 times since 2013, and systematically overpowered the man who, if he retired today, I would call the featherweight GOAT.
Let McGregor waste his prime on the Mayweather pipedream. Max Holloway runs this town.
For much more on last night’s UFC 212 PPV extravaganza, including video highlights, fight recaps, breaking news and much more, head over to our “Aldo vs. Holloway” live story stream by clicking here.