Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight strikers Jose Aldo and Max Holloway clashed last night (June 3, 2017) at UFC 212 inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The fight started with a long feeling out process, as both men generally do their best work on the counter. After a few minutes, Aldo landed the first real combination of the fight, cracking his opponent with a left hook and following up with some hard shots.
Holloway kept his composure, but Aldo was looking sharp early.
Aldo stuck to his long jab, waiting for Holloway to come in and cracking him with heavy counter punches. On the other hand, Holloway was not doing that much, especially by his usual standards. His movement was not that impressive, and his activity was nowhere near enough to tire the champion.
Holloway started the second round with more volume, but Aldo's counter punching was still on point. Aldo's effective counter punching was limiting Holloway's advances, as the Hawaiian did not want to get hit each time he moved forward.
Nevertheless, Holloway began to find his range a couple minutes into the round. His combinations began to flow and his volume increased, allowing him to land at a better rate. Aldo was still landing as well and finished with a big flurry, resulting in a rather close round.
Holloway opened the third round with some real success. He landed slick combinations and bounced away, drawing out Aldo's big flurries. After Aldo threw his counter punches, Holloway moved back in with more punches.
Eventually, a long right hand clipped Aldo's chin and sent him falling to the mat. The vast majority of fighters would have crumpled and ended there, but Aldo showcased his heart. Despite being nearly unconscious, Aldo's body continued to defend itself. Unfortunately for him, Holloway had not intentions of slowing down, and he simply kept hammering away until the referee called the bout.
Holloway fought brilliantly in this match up. He started the fight slowly, but ultimately that allowed him to get a read on Aldo's speed and movement. In the second, he turned up the pressure and stuck to his strategy, which eventually allowed him to find his perfect shot and end the bout.
Holloway's pulls were on point in this bout. Aldo is a great counter boxer - something Holloway definitely tasted in the early goings of the fight - but he's accustomed to fighters backing away after absorbing his counters. Instead, Holloway repeatedly pulled back, made him miss, then dove back into the fray with more punches.
Next up for the Featherweight crown should be Frankie Edgar, which would be a tremendous contest.
Aldo is still a great fighter, but it appears he is no longer the best.