Well, that escalated quickly now didn’t it. In one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Max Holloway once again showcased his superior ability to perform under the bright lights and in hostile territory no less. But the road to victory was by no means a cake walk for the Hawaiian fighter. Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo gave Max Holloway all he could handle before succumbing to ground and pound in the third round. Let’s get a glimpse at some of the big takeaways from UFC 212 and the fantastic main event that shook up the featherweight division.
The biggest issue for Jose Aldo in this fight was getting in on the inside and landing meaningful strikes on the interim champion. He started out strong and his speed was blinding in the opening frame. He kept a busy front hand to keep Holloway at bay as Aldo can throw his fair share of fast jabs to catch his opponents off guard.
It was Aldo’s left hook, right straight combination that stunned Holloway in the first followed by a nice flying knee.
It was a beautiful display of Aldo’s speed, power, and precision. But after taking a moment to consider what that kind of explosion took out of Aldo’s gas tank, you have to wonder if he was pushing himself too hard too fast in hopes of getting a big win in front of the hometown crowd.
By the end of the first we saw Holloway loosen up a bit and open up with a spinning back kick to Aldo’s body.
As I mentioned in my breakdown, as soon as Max Holloway decided to start going first, his offense started to become more effective. Holloway is great at counter fighting as well as being the aggressor. In a fight with a faster competitor with sharp counter punching skills, staying busy with in and out jabs, feinting, and being the aggressor is all needed. Max Holloway started using these tools in the second round which started to throw off Jose Aldo’s rhythm. Max Holloway began to turn the tide by moving forward, shifting back when Aldo committed, then countering back before the former champ could recover defensively.
That doesn’t mean Aldo wasn’t still in the game as his counters were still looking sharp.
By the time the third round came around, Max Holloway was fully in his rhythm and started to throw more volume. Rather than load up on power shots, as Aldo was tending to do, Holloway was content to just simply touch the champion with potshots.
In the end, it was the basic jab-cross that got the job done, but it was the rhythm change the separated the first and second combinations that made the shots so devastating.
Holloway throws the jab-cross that just touches Aldo, but rather than move all the way out after the combination he avoids the left hook counter and follows up with a counter one-two that ultimately signaled the end of Jose Aldo’s reign as champion.
It’ll be interesting to see who the UFC matches Max Holloway up with next. My guess is that it will be a little known New Jersey native. You know, the former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
What did you think of the performance of Max Holloway?
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