24-year-old Max Holloway continued his climb to the top of the featherweight division at UFC 194 on Saturday, defeating eighth-ranked Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision.
The Hawaiian used his length to control the distance and dictated the pace throughout the three-round fight. Stephens pressed forward, but Holloway’s footwork placed him just out of range of his opponent’s strikes.
Stephens attempted to get Holloway to the canvas several times, but was unable to ground “Blessed.” Following the second round, Stephens’ corner told him that he needed a finish in order to win. He responded by picking up the pace in the final frame.
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Holloway used that aggression against him by securing an early takedown. He advances his position to side control and took Stephens’ back. Stephens eventually scrambled back to his feet and tried to flurry late in the round, but couldn’t mount an effective offense.
After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored the bout for Holloway by unanimous decision. During his post-fight interview, Holloway called for a rematch with interim titleholder Conor McGregor, or a fight against champion Jose Aldo.
“I’ve got two possible fights next,” he said following his eighth consecutive win. “I know it wasn’t the prettiest, but what do you guys think about Holloway vs. McGregor 2 at Croke Park, or Holloway vs. Aldo in Hawaii?”
The win moved Holloway past Aldo for the most consecutive victories in the UFC’s 145-pound division.
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