Conor McGregor is no longer holding the featherweight title hostage, so we can finally have some movement in the division. And with Jose Aldo made the defacto champ, that means this fight should determine who gets Aldo next. Or, at least it would have if Anthony Pettis had made weight. Now it’s just Max Holloway who becomes interim 145-pound champ, and in theory a title shot if he wins.
Holloway and Pettis take up position just in kicking range, and they go to work probing, flicking out kicks and stepping in with quick punches. In no time Pettis is getting acrobatic, launching scissor kicks and spinning back-kicks, and Holloway answers with side-kicks to the lead-leg and boxing combos to the grill. The Hawaiian’s pugilistic skills are winning the day, so in the final seconds of the round Pettis shoots for a takedown and gets stuffed.
Thirty seconds into Round 2 and Holloway’s counter right hand puts Pettis on his butt. Holloway gestures for him to get up, and Pettis remains undaunted in terms of aggression, even going for a cartwheel kick that’s blocked. The former lightweight champ’s eye is a bloody mess, but he keeps coming forward, and with a minute left ties Holloway up against the fence. The horn sounds and Holloway is probably up two round to none.
It seems like Pettis has a broken right hand, so Round 3 opens with him throwing a lot of kicks and Holloway accidentally kneeing him the nuts. After a brief pause they go back to it, and Holloway throws Pettis to the canvas with a perfectly-timed sweep. He backs away and motions for his foe to get up, and they clinch against the fence, Pettis trying to reach down for a leg and Holloway nailing him with elbows. They make space and trade, with Holloway digging into Pettis’ body with his fists, Pettis countering with kicks, and Holloway scoring with another trip. They’re back up instantly, and Holloway lands a kick to the body that takes the life out of his opponent. Pettis backs up against the cage and covers up, and Holloway just unloads with punches on the defenseless fighter. Referee Yves Lavigne jumps in, and Holloway is your interim featherweight king.
Results: Max Holloway def. Anthony Pettis via TKO (Punches) at 4:50, R3