Daniel Cormier pulling out of his light heavyweight title defense with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson two weeks ago with an injury elevated Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis to main event status for UFC 206 with the interim featherweight title on the line, which Holloway won by third-round TKO on Saturday in Toronto.
The win not only finally puts a belt around Holloway’s waist, who entered the fight with a nine-fight winning streak (which is the most in one division without getting a title shot in UFC history), but it also sets up a future showdown with the official titleholder Jose Aldo whom Holloway has been trying to get a date in the Octagon with over the last few months.
“We couldn’t fight Aldo, so I started calling it Jose Waldo, hashtag ‘Where’s Jose Waldo?'” Holloway said. “[UFC 208] Brooklyn in February, let’s get the f—ing real [title]! This is my ticket to Jose Waldo. You tell me when you find him.”
Holloway, who hasn’t lost since dropping a unanimous decision to former featherweight champion Conor McGregor in August 2013, now has the third longest current winning streak in the UFC with 10 wins.
The Hawaiian sensation used his skill and techniques to put away the flashy Pettis who was stopped for the first time of his splendid career. After doing a good job of finding his range and using nice angles to land counter punches in the first round, Holloway opened a cut over Pettis’ right eye in the second round and stuffed the Duke Roufus Sport standouts attempts to get the fight to the ground.
In the third round, after landing a spinning back kick to Pettis’ midsection, Holloway landed a kick to the body moments later. Holloway’s kick all but ended the night for Pettis as referee Yves Lavigne stopped the fight with 10 seconds remaining in the third round.
With the loss, Pettis who was considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world just a couple of years ago, has now lost four of his past five fights. After missing weight by three pounds Friday, the former champion said he will move back up to the 155-pound division.
“It’s too much to make the cut,” Pettis said. “They literally had to pull me out of the sauna. I have to go up. I can’t make 145. The weight cut is too hard.”
The Milwaukee native was also very complimentary about Holloway’s performance while giving some insight to his during his post-fight interview.
“The first punch I threw, my right hand hit him on the top of the head and broke,” Pettis said. “Max Holloway is a beast. He stood with me and got the belt.”
While Pettis heals up and moves back up to the lightweight division, Holloway will be waiting to receive his official date with Aldo to see who will become the official champion of the featherweight division due to McGregor being stripped of the title by the UFC in November.
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