UFC 218 was originally set to feature champ Max Holloway defending his featherweight belt against perenial challenger Frankie Edgar. But the UFC is nothing if not unpredictable, and Edgar was pulled from the card three weeks before the event after breaking his orbital bone in training. Stepping up to replace him was Jose Aldo, the greatest featherweight champ the UFC ever had and the man Holloway won the belt off of. While it’s a bit soon for a rematch, you can’t complain too much because both guys are absolute killers.
In the end, it was Max Holloway who came away with the win in a similar fashion to their first meeting. Aldo held his own but tired out in the third, and Holloway swarmed him with volume shots, hitting him from post to post until Jose pulled guard to try and escape the endless parade of punches. From there Holloway rained down with strikes until the referee stopped things with just 9 seconds to go in the third.
The first round saw a much more patient Jose Aldo versue the Aldo we saw in the first fight who went pedal to the metal. Holloway responded to that by staying on the outside and peppering the Brazilian with shots and clowning on him. In the second round Aldo started connecting with leg kicks but it didn’t stop Holloway from using his superior length to hit him over the top with strikes again and again.
As we mentioned above, fatigue set in for Aldo in the third and that’s when things went wrong for him. He was game and fought his heart out, but for every wild punch he threw Holloway hit him with three. It was a relief when the ref stopped the fight.
The win marks the definitive start of a new era in the featherweight division. Jose Aldo is no longer the king. If Holloway beats Frankie Edgar next, it will take someone new coming up to lift the belt off Max Holloway. Unless, of course, Conor McGregor decides to come back down to remind people what’s up. Holloway’s 12 fight win streak started after a loss to McGregor, but at this point he’s practically a different fighter. That would be an epic match up we’d love to see.