UFC 206- Holloway Wins Interim 145-Pound Belt
The UFC finally has the interim champion it has been looking for after a lengthy period of inactivity from “Notorious” Conor McGregor before his recent move to lightweight. Champion Josè Aldo has been absent due to outside matters. Thanks to an odd twist, Max “Blessed” Holloway was the only option.
UFC 206 already lost its main event between Daniel “DC” Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the light heavyweight championship when Cormier suffered an injury in training. In somewhat controversial fashion, after using the possibility of having McGregor become the first simultaneous two-division champion as a selling point for UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, he was then stripped/relinquished the featherweight title.
The co-main event between Holloway and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis was then moved up on the card with an interim belt on the line–but just days beforehand, Pettis missed weight. Standard protocol is that the heavy competitor is fined a percentage of their purse (which Pettis was) that is then given to their opponent. However, should this happen in title fights, those bouts become nontitle fights.
The UFC ruled though that Holloway was the only competitor eligible for the belt.
Holloway knew what many thought about the backstage issues leading into his first shot at UFC gold, and it just gave him something more to prove. He may have a longer journey ahead of him to really silence his detractors, but a finish and a now 10-fight winning streak are a great place to start.
Kicks are the way the first starts for both men, but Pettis seems to be the more elusive fighter early. Holloway fires off a straight right punch that lands dead center in Pettis’ torso. The RoufuSport MMA product counters with a spin kick that gets a small reaction, but Holloway is still on his feet. The Hawaiian title contender is then forced back after a right hand (it was revealed in the post-fight interview that Pettis broke his hand in the first round.) He suffers a follow-up right from Holloway before trying for a takedown that is stuffed as they break for round two.
Pettis has to know that he lost the first round as he starts the second faring not much better–being on his back under the arena lights (however briefly) after a Holloway right. He responds by pressing the action with a lower-based attack against “Blessed” but punching his way through the pain. Holloway is obviously up further as Pettis’ hands are low enough that his opponent to land as he pleases. There’s a bit dirty boxing against the fence as Pettis then can’t follow through on another takedown.
This contest is running down the stretch and Holloway leads with a powerful left. Time is called after a low knee to Pettis. No point is deducted as the clock runs once more. “Showtime” offers a high kick. He’s swept off his feet in a clinch with Holloway raining down a short series of punches from inside his guard thereafter.
Pettis is allowed to stand up but has another takedown dive avoided as the clock is winding down. Holloway uses a leg kick-left hand duo next. When they go to the ground off of another sweep, Holloway is in side control with seconds remaining. They stand and Pettis is rocked with another kick to the midsection. In deep trouble, Pettis curls up in a squatting position against the cage as he takes a barrage of shots ahead of the call-off.
(C) Max Holloway def. Anthony Pettis via TKO at 4:50 of Round 3.