Max Holloway is an absolute killer at only 25 years old, and was on a ten-fight winning streak coming into UFC 212. His last loss? To Conor McGregor in 2013, when he was just 21 years old. Jose Aldo is the greatest featherweight champion in the history of MMA, but his last loss, the only loss on his record in a decade, was a 13-second knockout to Conor McGregor.
It took Conor McGregor leaving the division behind to get these two together. Jose beat Frankie Edgar for the interim belt, then Holloway won another interim belt in a fight against Anthony Pettis. No more of this interim stuff. This was it.
And make no mistake about it — these are two of the best fighters in the UFC, but the long shadow of Conor McGregor covered this fight for months leading up to it, but now, finally we can move on with a clear champion in the division, and that’s Hawaii’s Max Holloway.
Jose Aldo started sharp and strong, and both men would be throwing absolute fire, but Jose absolutely was winning early.
In round 2, Holloway would find his distance, but would still be rocked multiple times by Aldo, who had the Brazil crowd firmly behind him. Aldo, frankly, looked great. He was fast as hell, but towards the end of round 2, it seemed like he began to gas. Holloway would do his signature taunt, and both men would throw heavy leather to end the round. It seemed like Aldo was up two rounds (especially with Brazilian judges), but who could really tell? This was a fight!
Then, in round 3, Aldo went flat-footed. He was still throwing heavy, but you could tell Holloway was smelling blood. Suddenly, Aldo was on the floor, and even with Big John giving Aldo a ton of time to try to get up off the ground, he stepped in and ended the fight.