Now it’s official. Max Holloway is UFC’s undisputed featherweight champion.
The 25-year-old Hawaiian defeated Jose Aldo via TKO in their title unification bout at UFC 212 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Holloway took the upper hand early in the third round and floored Aldo with a left uppercut then almost got the 30-year-old to submit with a rear-naked choke, but it was a flurry of punches to the side of the head that forced the official to stop the match at 4:13 of the round.
“The ‘Blessed’ era is gonna be in full effect here in a bit, you guys are gonna see,” said Holloway, in reference to his fast rising nickname. “I’ve been telling you. I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs. And now you’re starting to listen.”
“He had everything I wanted, he had the long reign,” said Holloway of Aldo. This is the first time that Aldo lost to a real featherweight, ending an 11-year streak. He lost to Conor McGregor in 2015, but McGregor, who was never considered a featherweight, then moved up and relinquished his belt.
Holloway also lost to McGregor in 2013, but has won his last 11 matches since then, including eight via submissions or TKOs. “Now it’s time for the ‘Blessed’ era,” claimed Holloway.
Aldo actually set the pace with fast punches to keep the younger fighter on the defensive, but Holloway was able to outlast the 30-year-old in the exchange of blows and take him down before getting him in a rear-naked choke.
The fighter with the record seven title defenses in the featherweight division then scrambled to get away but got on his back, allowing Holloway to pound his head with continuous punches and forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Holloway won his interim title after a TKO of Anthony Pettis, while Aldo won his interim belt after a unanimous decision victory over Frankie Edgar.