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UFC 206 results: Max Holloway TKOs Anthony Pettis to win interim featherweight title

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In the main event of UFC 206, Max Holloway turned in a sensational performance and finished Anthony Pettis to become the interim featherweight champion.

MMA: UFC 206- Holloway vs Pettis Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC 206 main event between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis was marred by the fact that Pettis missed weight on Friday. So heading into tonight’s card at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, only Holloway was eligible to win the UFC interim featherweight title. A Pettis win (or a draw/NC) would mean no belt awarded for either man.

Pettis was the more active striker in the opening two minutes, throwing mainly kicks to the body. A nice spinning back kick backed Holloway up, but replays showed it didn’t land. Holloway scored with a counter right hand after ducking underneath Pettis. Holloway threw a good body-head combination. Pettis was effective with his kicks and was able to land a few right hands. Holloway caught Pettis with a short, sharp left hook in the final minute of the round. A late takedown attempt by Pettis was stuffed to end the 1st. Holloway’s left hook opened up a small cut under the right eye of Pettis.

In round 2, a right hand by Holloway dropped Pettis clean, but he wasn’t too hurt by it and Holloway ordered him to get back to his feet. Pettis turned on the aggression and forced Holloway to block a high kick. A cartwheel kick by Pettis failed and he flopped to his back, then got back to his feet. Holloway went to the body with his punches midway through the 2nd. Another takedown by Pettis was stuffed, and Holloway had a front headlock, then tagged Pettis with a right hand upon release. Holloway’s boxing was a consistent source of offense for him, and Pettis was struggling to cope. Pettis put Holloway against the fence and sought the high-crotch takedown. The Hawaiian defended it superbly and clearly took control of the fight.

Corner audio on the TV broadcast revealed that Pettis broke his right hand at the end of the 1st round, and revealed as such to his corner. Pettis went to work early in the 3rd round with his kicks, attacking the legs and the body. A combination by Holloway was unfortunately finished with an illegal knee to the groin. No point was taken away and the fight resumed in due time. Both men threw high kicks, but Holloway was throwing with more volume in the striking exchanges. Holloway pulled off a great leg sweep of Pettis, but wanted to get the fight standing again instead of going into the dangerous guard of “Showtime.” Holloway continued to dig to the body of his opponent. He also did well to stay out of range of Pettis’ vaunted head kicks. After more dominant striking by Holloway, he executed another sweep to the mat, this time into side control. Pettis threw up his legs for a submission attempt and Holloway let him back up. That proved to be the beginning of the end for Pettis. Holloway drilled Pettis with a body kick that sent Anthony into retreat mode. Max then attacked with a wicked flurry of punches to the body and to the head. Pettis dropped to the ground in obvious pain and referee Yves Lavigne moved in to stop the fight. A scintillating showing by Max Holloway.

Official result: Max Holloway def. Anthony Pettis via TKO (punches) at 4:50 of round 3 to become the UFC interim featherweight champion

Pettis later said in the post-fight interview that he broke his hand with the first punch he threw. He also said he’ll return to 155 after his failed weight cut to 145. As for Holloway, he will be fighting Jose Aldo (Jose Waldo, as Holloway called him) for the unified featherweight title.