Max Holloway Batters Jose Aldo to Earn Another 3rd Round TKO in UFC 218 Main Event

Max Holloway finished Jose Aldo in almost identical fashion as he did back in June

Welcome to the “Blessed” era.

If there was any question about Max Holloway’s title reign after defeating Jose Aldo back in June, the featherweight king put on almost an identical performance to put away the longest reigning 145-pound champion in history to cap off UFC 218 on Saturday night.

Holloway was originally expected to face Frankie Edgar but a broken orbital bone knocked out the former lightweight champion from challenging for the title.

With an open spot in the main event, Aldo asked the UFC for the opportunity to get a rematch with Holloway just six months after their first fight ended.

Holloway made Aldo pay for that decision, however, as the Hawaii native put on a stellar performance to once again earn a third round TKO in his first title defense.

While Aldo was more reserved in the opening round and not as aggressive as last time, he was still putting everything into each and every one of his punches as he tried to take off Holloway’s head.

In return, Holloway stayed just out of range and continuously popped Aldo with a lead jab, opening a small cut on the Brazilian’s face during the first few exchanges.

At the end of the first round, Holloway walked towards his corner but stopped long enough to tell the UFC commentary team that Aldo was already tired.

The second round saw Holloway start putting the pressure on Aldo as he was throwing three and four punch combinations with the Brazilian throwing haymakers in return. Aldo did start to implement more leg kicks, which is one weapon he failed to use in the last fight but he still couldn’t mount much damage against Holloway.

With each passing exchange, Holloway’s confidence grew and the third round saw him begin to stalk Aldo around the Octagon, throwing blistering combinations in succession. Eventually, Holloway trapped Aldo against the cage and he started unloading a barrage of punches on the former champion.

The cuts on Aldo’s face opened up even more as blood sprayed across his face until he was forced to go for a takedown with Holloway just pouring on the punishment.

Much like the first fight, Holloway just kept hammering away with shot after shot getting through Aldo’s defense and eventually referee Herb Dean saw enough to step in and stop the carnage.

The end of the fight came at 4:51 in the third round — just 38 seconds after Holloway finished Aldo at UFC 212 back in June.

“At the end of the day, it is what it is. All due respect, Aldo’s a hell of a champion but I told you guys this is the ‘Blessed’ era,” Holloway said following his first title defense.

Not only did Holloway defend his title but he becomes the first person in history to hold two wins over Aldo while simultaneously eliminating him from title contention so long as he’s holding the belt. Holloway also notches his 12th win in a row overall but despite his dominant run he’s not ready to try and take Aldo’s throne as the greatest featherweight of all time just yet.

“I got a lot of catching up to do on the title defenses and then we can talk about it,” Holloway said.

It would seem that Holloway will now wait for Edgar to get healthy so they can settle their unfinished business next year. As for Aldo, he sits in a very tough spot after dropping to 1-3 in his past four fights with back-to-back losses to the reigning featherweight champion in Holloway.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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