The UFC featherweight champion stopped Aldo with strikes in the third round for the second time, this time in his first title defense. The bout headlined the first trip to Detroit in 10 years at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday night. It was a rematch of their June meeting at UFC 212 in which Holloway, then interim champ, finished the Brazilian featherweight great to capture the 145-pound belt.
“Blessed” praised the former UFC titleholder after his victory, but also hinted that it might be time for Aldo to hang his gloves up after a long career.
“He doesn’t have to owe anybody anything,” Holloway said at the UFC 218 post-fight press conference. “That guy’s one of the greatest of all time. I think Brazil should be building statues of that guy in all of the villas. He’s a legend, he’s a GOAT, and I got a lot to fill (as champion).”
The first two rounds between Holloway and Aldo at UFC 218 were rather close, but Holloway, again, took over in the third round. He had a higher output than Aldo, and was getting stronger as every minute went on, while Aldo was fading at a rapid pace. Aldo eventually got desperate, but Holloway used his impressive movement to avoid most of Aldo’s swinging shots. Holloway started to pick Aldo apart in the latter part of round three, and after landing some vicious ground-and-pound, the referee had to step in.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan said after the fight that Holloway’s second win over Aldo gave the current champ greatest-featherweight-of-all-time status. But Holloway disagrees.
“No, I got a lot of catching up to do,” Holloway told Rogan in his post-fight interview earlier in the night. “You gotta respect the man. The man got all the numbers. I gotta catch up on the title defenses, and then maybe we can talk about it.”
The Aldo win improved Holloway’s win streak to 12 in a row, one of the most impressive string of victories we have seen in a while.
It’s not yet clear what his next move will be, but Holloway said he is content with defending his title several times — not moving up in weight for a “money fight.” Frankie Edgar, who was scheduled to meet Holloway at UFC 218 before pulling out with an injury, is likely in line for the next title shot once he is recovered.
UFC 218 also featured a heavyweight blockbuster between Francis Ngannou and Alistair Overeem. Ngannou stopped the former Strikeforce champion with a vicious left hand in less than two minutes. Former UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez handed Justin Gaethje his first loss in one of 2017’s best fights at the event, too.