DETROIT (AP) — Max Holloway sought to build up his UFC legacy and push Jose Aldo closer to the end of his career.
Done and done.
Holloway defended his UFC featherweight title by dominating the former champion in a rematch, winning his 12th straight fight with a TKO late in the third round Saturday night.
“He is a hell of a technician, but this is the ‘Blessed’ era,” Holloway said, referring to his nickname. “This is something new.”
Holloway (19-3) beat Aldo in his native Brazil in June, rallying from a slow start to win with a TKO in the third.
The 25-year-old Hawaiian was in control throughout the bout in Detroit, but Aldo (26-4) landed his fair share of punches and kicks as one would expect from one of the greats in mixed martial arts.
Holloway’s last loss was to Conor McGregor in 2013. McGregor made about $100 million for boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr. last summer. UFC President Dana White isn’t sure if McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, will ever get in the octagon again, even though he’s under contract for four more fights.
“Who knows even if Conor is going to fight again,” White said. “I’m rolling like he’s not.”
Frankie Edgar was supposed to fight Holloway but broke an orbital bone a few weeks ago while training. He was asked to fight two weeks earlier than scheduled. Aldo acknowledged he got away from his strength in the previous fight, keeping his feet on the mat instead of kicking them. He went back to kicking in Detroit, but it didn’t seem to affect the agile Holloway.
“He kicks very hard, but I think we passed the test,” Holloway said. “I took him into deep waters.”
The 31-year-old Aldo has lost three of his last four fights, including to McGregor nearly two years ago after going nearly a decade without a setback.