Max Holloway cemented his position as the undisputed UFC featherweight champion with back to back victories over one of the all-time greats Jose Aldo. The main event result of UFC 218 was pretty much similar to how it went the first time. The third round was an absolute brawl where Holloway just went for the kill and methodically chiseled away the hopes of the former champion.
How it went down?
We all knew how this fight got finalized in the first place. Frankie Edgar’s pull out gave Aldo one more shot at the title. Holloway was it his confident best coming into this fight. Having faced Aldo before, he must have known how to outpace and outstrike Aldo. When they met the first time, Holloway did take a flurry of strikes from Aldo but still came on top to finish him in the third round.
During this time at UFC 218, it was Holloway’s show from the very first round. Aldo did connect a few times with some solid punches, but Holloway just shrugged it off. Aldo, on the other hand, looked visibly tired right after the first round. For the most part of the fight, Aldo was fighting with his mouth open which showed that he was gasping for breath.
— Jonnyboy (@Jonnyboy_6969) December 3, 2017
Holloway looked absolutely phenomenal throughout the fight. He kept his composure, outlanded Aldo in strikes, and even taunted him a little. The third round is where we saw one of the best versions of Holloway. He picked Aldo apart step by step in the first two and went into a full-fledged brawl in the third. The pressure he kept on Aldo was exceptional. Sure, he did eat a few punches. But he never backed down and went straight for the kill.
When a fight of this level gets over, it immediately begs the question “what’s next?” for these fighters. After UFC 218, I would say that both these guys earned their rest for a few months before deciding on what comes next for them.
The featherweight division doesn’t have much competition for the title at present. Frankie Edgar for sure is the immediate title contender next. Considering the fact that Edgar did well against strikers in his last two fights, he might give Holloway a run for his money. Still, Holloway is at the peak of his career and I don’t see Frankie Edgar taking that belt off him easily.
Cub Swanson is one of the favorite fighters. Yet, I don’t see him in Holloway’s league at the moment. Holloway already defeated him once. A win over Artem Lobov is not enough for a title shot in my opinion. If he defeats the undefeated Brian Ortega next, he might be very well in line to face Holloway next. Let’s see how that goes.
As far as Aldo is concerned, I wouldn’t consider this to be a career-ending fight. Despite his back to back losses, he is still one of the greatest featherweights of all time. Since almost all of the top 5 featherweights have already lost to Aldo, I really can’t say what is next for him. I would love to see him against up and coming contenders like Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega next. If things go well, he might even be in title contention one more time.