Max Holloway is now the interim UFC featherweight champion after scoring a TKO victory over Anthony Pettis in the headliner of UFC 206: Holloway vs. Pettis on Saturday.
Holloway came into the fight riding an impressive winning streak, but the fight was very evenly matched for the first handful of rounds. Holloway used body shots to set up the eventual punch flurry against the cage that put Pettis onto the ground and forced the referee to step in.
Pettis seemed to tell his corner between the second and third rounds that he broke his hand, and didn’t throw with the right for the entire third round. He threw plenty of kicks though, and while many came close, Holloway never backed up enough to present an opening for Pettis.
Saturday’s fight was primarily a case of Holloway not being flustered by the unique and varied attack of Pettis, who will be searching for answers after both failing to make weight and losing in his second fight at what was supposed to be featherweight since dropping down from lightweight.
Because he came in overweight, Pettis was forced to forfeit 20 percent of his purse and was not eligible to hold the interim built in victory. But that’s not a concern now with Holloway taking the victory. He will now go onto face Jose Aldo to unite the featherweight belts.
In other main card action, Cub Swanson scored a decision victory over up-and-comer Doo Ho Choi in what was one of the most entertaining fights of the year. They gave it their all and both threw and took shots that would have put many fighters away.
Fan favorite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone managed to avoid some sticky situations against Matt Brown at welterweight, ultimately scoring a beautiful head kick knockout at the start of the third round.
Below is the full play-by-play of the main card, and then a full list of results from the undercard.
Max Holloway defeats Anthony Pettis via TKO at 4:50 in Round 3
Round 1: Pettis refuses to touch gloves, and both fighters take to the center of the octagon. Both fighters are feeling things out for the first couple minutes. Pettis tries some flair with intricate kicks, but nothing serious lands. Holloway lands a big body shot at three minutes. The two continue to circle and throw light shots, but no extended combos and no exchanges. Neither fighter really has an edge. Pettis tries to get a takedown as the round expires but doesn’t secure it.
Round 2: Pettis lands a big shot early but Holloway eats it. The two exchange and Pettis tries a spinning kick from his hands, but it doesn’t land. Holloway continues landing nice body shots, and the cut on Pettis’ right eye seems significant. But again, nothing significant is landing for either fighter overall. Pettis is throwing a lot but Holloway doesn’t seem flustered like many of Pettis’ opponents do. The round comes to an end with no huge shots landed, but Pettis looks like he might have some kind of injury to his right hand.
Round 3: Pettis seemed to tell his corner between rounds that he broke his right hand. Pettis came out in the third throwing a ton of kicks, but Holloway handled them. The referee separated the two and gave Pettis time to recuperate. Pettis recovered quickly and Holloway was not docked a point. Pettis wanted to get right back into it and the fight resumed. Holloway is much more active when the fight resumes as Pettis continues to throw kicks while not using his right hand. Holloway sweeps Pettis and tosses him to the ground, but the two resume standing quickly after.
Holloway gets Pettis to the ground with just under a minute to go but Pettis gets back to his feet. Holloway starts landing some huge shots on Pettis and swarms him against the cage. Pettis is overwhelmed and tired and turtles up while Holloway fires off on him. The referee steps in as Pettis stops defending himself.
Donald Cerrone defeats Matt Brown via KO (head kick) at 0:34 of Round 3
Round 1: Cowboy is immediately the aggressor, landing a couple body kicks and a few punches. Brown battles back with a couple left jabs of his own. Cerrone is throwing some crisp combos, but nothing huge is landing. Cerrone lands a left head kick that opened a cut on Brown. Brown throws a high kick with 1:20 left and falls to the ground because of it. Cerrone follows him down and Brown locks in a triangle hold with a minute to go. Brown has a triangle in tight and Cerrone is in a very dangerous spot. Eventually though, he gets out and both fighters take their feet. In the final 30 seconds, Brown lands some strikes, including a nice kick to the body. Brown lands a huge right just as the bell sounds.
Round 2: The two exchange and circle for the first 90 seconds before Brown lands a huge hook that staggers Cerrone. Brown swarms him and tries to finish, but Cerrone is great at recovering and comes back from it. The two take the center of the octagon again and this time, it’s Cerrone who lands a huge shot that sends Brown to the mat. But Brown gets back up and the two begin again with 2:30 to go in the second. Cerrone lands a right overhand and pressures but Brown circles away. Brown lands some good body shots while Cerrone lands a big jab. The round comes to an end with Brown’s face bloodied, but both fighters having scored some points.
Round 3: The two come out and share a hug to celebrate their mutual bloodiness and resume hostilities. Cerrone lands a strong right hand following a left hook from Brown. Seconds later, Cerrone throws a vicious head kick that completely shuts Brown down. Cerrone doesn’t need to follow it up because Brown is completely out cold.
Cub Swanson defeats Doo Ho Choi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Round 1: Choi immediately lands a hard right before clinching up and throwing several knees, one of which lands hard. He looks fast and aggressive and Swanson is immediately retreating. But Swanson does throw a huge right that just misses about a minute into the fight. Swanson’s right eye starts to swell, probably from the knee that came in the clinch. The two circle in the octagon and Swanson throws several wild strikes, including a wheel kick. Choi stays in the pocket despite this and lands good right hand. They clinch for awhile, but nothing serious lands. Both fighters are throwing huge strikes and just missing. Choi lands a strong right to the body followed by a left jab but Swanson has a big chin and takes the strike. Swanson lands a big shot overhand with the right. The round expires and it could have went either way.
Round 2: The two take the center of the octagon and Choi is throwing hard and fast. Swanson’s corner told him that Choi would struggle going backwards, so Swanson is also throwing and trying to press. Swanson lands some huge shots and Choi is staggered. Choi is in serious danger. But Swanson, while pursuing the finish, takes a huge shot from Choi and is staggered himself. Choi gets him against the cage and Swanson is pretty much out on his feet, but Choi can’t finish.
Choi is pretty tired out and the two eventually go to the ground. Swanson ends up in half guard on top, both fighters still dazed and tired. Swanson looked like he wanted to take a break, but Choi starts trying to get full guard. Choi eventually pushes Swanson off of him and defends from his back. Both get to their feet with two minutes to go in the round. Choi lands nice jab. Swanson throws a head kick that misses. Choi looks in control and then Swanson lands a huge left straight and gets Choi staggered and hurt. He lands several shots but Choi recovers and lands a knee just as the round comes to an end.
Round 3: Choi lands a strong right, but Swanson lands a left of his own. Swanson continues throwing kicks while Choi is primarily sticking to punches. Swanson attempts a takedown and Choi shrugs him off. Swanson clinches and Choi gets behind him. Choi eventually drags Swanson to the ground and takes his back, but Swanson reverses and ends up on top in full guard. They get to their feet and Swanson lands some hard shots. Choi also lands hard but Swanson’s chin is unreal and he throws while getting hit. Choi stays standing though and with 90 seconds to go, they clinch up. Both fighters are exhausted with a minute to go. In the final 20 seconds, Swanson swarms again. He is overwhelming Choi and tries his hardest to finish, but has to settle for a clear round victory in one of the best fights of the year.
Kelvin Gastelum defeats Tim Kennedy via TKO (punches) at 2:45 in Round 3
Round 1: Kennedy comes out swinging and eventually scores a trip takedown on Gastelum. It’s clear early that Kennedy has much more strength than Gastelum. Two minutes in, Kennedy gets Gastelum’s back, but no significant strikes have been thrown yet. Gastelum gets to his feet while Kennedy throws some huge knees to Gastelum’s thighs. The shots are clearly hurting as Gastelum is trying his best to get out of the way of them.
Gastelum looks around like he was upset the referee wasn’t separating them. Eventually they separate and Gastelum, the superior boxer, lands a huge shot on Kennedy, but he handles it well. With a minute to go, Kennedy lands a couple light shots. Gastelum starts to bounce around, hoping to work his boxing. Kennedy’s right eye starts to swell from the earlier big shot. Gastelum lands a few more big shots just as the round ends. If there was another minute in the round, Gastelum might have been able to swarm and finish there.
Round 2: Both come out in the middle of the octagon. Kennedy goes for another takedown but Gastelum defends it and eventually takes Kennedy’s back. Not much happens from it, and when the two get back to their feet, Kennedy is looking a little gassed out. Gastelum is circling, but he himself doesn’t look like hes got a full gas tank. Kennedy dodges a combo from Gastelum and throws Gastelum to the ground and against the cage, but Gastelum rolled out of it and Kennedy ended up on the ground with Gastelum on top. Gastelum lands a nice left hook with 30 seconds to go but the round ends with both swinging. Kennedy only landed one strike in that closing flurry while Gastelum landed three or four.
Round 3: Gastelum lands some hard shots early and Kennedy is not just tired, but hurt. He lands a left hook as Kennedy tries to throw an uppercut and he pushes a staggering Kennedy into the cage. Sensing a finish, Gastelum looks less gassed while Kennedy looks completely immobile. Gastelum lands a huge combo with just over two minutes to go in the round and Kennedy knows he’s beat, going to the mat in submission. Gastelum swarms but the referee stops it.
Emil Meek defeats Jordan Mein via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Round 1: Mein secured an early takedown after the pair exchanged leg kicks, but Meek got to his feet quickly. Meek throws some hard shots but doesn’t land. Mein shoots for another takedown and gets it, but Meek tries to lock in a guillotine. He can’t secure it and eventually get back to his feet. Meek lands some very hard shots that stagger Mein, but the latter seems to recover with 2:30 left in the round.
It looks like Meek may have suffered a broken rib or some kind of injury because he starts yelling and wincing in pain while Mein was simply trying to work a takedown. Meek got back to his feet though and he lands some hard shots on Mein. Meek works a takedown at that point against the cage but can’t get it as the round expires. It was definitely a close one, with Mein landing multiple takedowns but Meek landing the more serious shots.
Round 2: This time it’s Meek who earned the takedown early in the second round. It’s unclear if Meek had some kind of injury in the first round or not because he didn’t look particularly effected by it to start the second. Not much happens for a long time with Meek slowly working to try and eventually secure an arm triangle. Meek doesn’t start with the ground-and-pound until there’s a minute left in the round. The round ends with Meek throwing shots but landing nothing significant. It was a very passive round for Mein.
Round 3: They clinch against the cage and eventually start throwing about 90 seconds into the round. Meek lands a good one and ends up on top of Mein without even really trying for a takedown. Once again Mein looks passive and isn’t doing any fighting back. Meek is in full guard and throwing plenty of short blows, but nothing big. Meek continues to throw blows from above and Mein looks simply exhausted. Meek starts to celebrate with 10 seconds to go while Mein just holds onto him. The round, and fight comes to an end and it really should be Meek’s fight.
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The prelims were plenty exciting, capped off on UFC Fight Pass with a huge spinning wheel kick knockout blow from Lando Vannala over John Makdessi. The kick came in the first round and was the last thing that happened before coverage switched over the Fox Sports 1.
There, a pair of fights were won by decision, but two high-level submission victories were also scored. The first was by Olivier Aubin-Mercier over Drew Dober — a rear-naked choke in the second round. The second was a thrilling guillotine choke from Misha Cirkunov over Nikita Krylov in the light heavyweight division.
Below is a full list of results from UFC 206: Holloway vs. Pettis, updated throughout Saturday evening as the card progresses.
Pay-per-view Main Card results
Catchweight (148 lbs): Max Holloway def. Anthony Pettis via TKO at 4:50 in Round 3
Welterweight: Donald Cerrone def. Matt Brown via KO (head kick) at 0:34 of Round 3
Featherweight: Cub Swanson def. Doo Ho Choi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Middleweight: Kelvin Gastelum def. Tim Kennedy via TKO (punches) at 2:45 of Round 3
Welterweight: Emil Meek def. Jordan Mein via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims results
Light heavyweight: Misha Cirkunov def. Nikita Krylov via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:38 of Round 1
Lightweight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Drew Dober via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:57 of Round 2
Catchweight (117.5 lbs): Viviane Pereira def. Valerie Letourneau via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bantamweight: Matthew Lopez def. Mitch Gagnon via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Fight Pass Prelims results
Lightweight: Lando Vannata def. John Makdessi via KO (spinning wheel kick) at 1:40 of Round 1
Catchweight (158 lbs): Rustam Khabilov def. Jason Saggo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Flyweight: Dustin Ortiz def. Zach Makovsky via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)