Check out our breakdown of the post-fight bonuses from UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We tell you who won, who didn’t and why.
The Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was home to a great night of fights, with five (T)KOs, four submissions and three decisions, including one split-decision. We also saw the UFC’s featherweight titles unified in a fantastic main event that proved the division has plenty of life beyond Conor McGregor.
Performances of the Night: Brian Kelleher and Claudia Gadelha
Brian Kelleher pulled off the unthinkable in the opening bout of the card; he tapped Iuri Alcantara out with a guillotine. Alcantara is renowned for his guillotine defense, but the New Yorker either didn’t know that, or didn’t care, and he stopped Alcantara for the very first time in the Brazilian’s UFC career. He followed that up with some choice words for the partisan Rio de Janeiro crowd, and undoubtedly earned their enmity along with his $50k bonus check.
Claudia Gadelha said before this fight that she thought she was better than Karolina Kowalkiewicz everywhere. Turns out, she is. It didn’t take her long to overpower the Polish star with a rear-naked choke, forcing the tap at 3:03 of the very first round. She walks away with a cool 50 Gs.
Fight of the Night: Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway
The main event of the evening was, on paper, one of the best featherweight match-ups in the history of the division. As we all know, what works on paper doesn’t always deliver in reality, but this fight did. It wasn’t a Hendo vs. Shogun style brawl of the night, it was a violent chess match, a tactical battle between two masters of the craft, and it was beautiful to behold.
The first round saw Aldo rock Holloway multiple times, including a huge five-punch combo punctuated by a flying knee, but the Hawaiian ate Aldo’s best shots and kept coming. By round two, Holloway was becoming more confident, throwing significantly more strikes. At the start of round three, Holloway was throwing combos with reckless abandon, taking shots to give his own, and in the end, his chin held up longer than Aldo’s.
Midway through the third, Holloway dropped Aldo and pounced on him. The champion showed the composure that earned him the title of greatest featherweight in history, but Holloway would. Not. Stop. He punched Aldo from guard, went to side control and punched him some more, took his back and punched him again, mount, back control, mount, all the while throwing punches, until John McCarthy finally had no choice but to end the bout, much to Jose’s dismay.
Holloway proved he has the skills, talent and mental toughness needed to be the champion, and fully earned his $50,000 bonus. You have to think that the Hawaiian is looking at the “L” Conor McGregor put on his record right now and wondering what he has to do to get the opportunity to get it back. The first step is probably telling Ari Emmanuel his name isn’t XXXXX.