UFC 212 results: Max Holloway wins featherweight belt with TKO of Jose Aldo
Plus, Claudia Gadelha scored a submission over Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the co-main event
Don't look now, but the UFC has another brash featherweight superstar.
Hawaiian chatterbox Max Holloway became a full-fledged world champion for the first time on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, shocking Brazilian hero Jose Aldo with a third-round stoppage atop the UFC 212 pay-per-view extravaganza.
The win was Holloway's 11th straight in the UFC, tying Royce Gracie for the fifth-longest in the organization's history behind Anderson Silva (16), Jon Jones (13), Georges St. Pierre (12) and Demetrious Johnson (12). He's registered eight stoppages in those 11 wins and has not lost since dropping a three-round decision to Conor McGregor in 2013.
He'd been the No. 1 contender and the so-called "interim" champion heading into Saturday.
Aldo protested the stoppage, but Holloway didn't hesitate to declare himself the new king.
"It feels great," Holloway said. "(Aldo) had everything I wanted. His time is done. Welcome to this era. I'm not racing through the division. I'm cleaning it out. I can't wait for my reign. Brazil, you're taking an L in life right now."
Aldo, 30, was taking his second career rebuilding step after an inglorious 13-second loss to McGregor in a December 2015 title bout, initially regaining championship status after his conqueror vacated the weightclass and subsequently defeating Frankie Edgar at the UFC 200 show in Las Vegas last summer.
The veteran controlled the first two rounds on Saturday with heavy hands, but never put Holloway in serious distress and ultimately saw the youngster take charge after landing a beautiful right-left-right combination about two minutes into the third. Aldo went to the floor, Holloway took control and eventually drew an intervention from referee John McCarthy after a series of unanswered shots.
"He had aspirations of being a boxer," Holloway said. "I went out there took my time and it was my night. Slow and steady always wins the race. I've got five rounds. I knew he would fade and I took advantage as the shots opened. I was in there to fight. My game plan was to go out there and fight. This (isn't) a sprint. Everything turned out the way I wanted to."
Holloway immediately called for an inaugural UFC show in his home state, and suggested he'll spend a few days living the high life before turning focus back to work.
"I think the whole world thinks it's time (for the UFC in Hawaii)," he said. "But in the meantime, I'm going to go home, eat some ice cream and get fat. Just enjoy life. One week to enjoy and then back to work. I want to get paid."
Top-ranked women's strawweight Claudia Gadelha took care of business in lightning-quick fashion, taking out No. 2 contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
It was the 15th win in 17 fights for Gadelha, whose only losses have come by decisions -- one unanimous and one split -- against strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2014 and 2016.
She also became the first fighter not named Jedrzejczyk to defeat Kowalkiewicz, who had lost a unanimous decision to the champion at UFC 205.
Gadelha quickly took Saturday's match to the mat, took control of Kowalkiewicz's back and prompted the quick stoppage. Kowalkiewicz was countered while attempting to apply pressure then dropped to the floor during a subsequent clinch and was quickly subject to a rear-naked choke.
"This is the new Claudia. It's going to be hard to beat me," Gadelha said. "You can't expect different results if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. I went and challenged myself."
Veteran middleweight Vitor Belfort emerged as a winner in what could be his final octagonal appearance, taking a narrow unanimous decision from Nate Marquardt.
Now 40, Belfort started slowly in the first before landing 19 strikes in a competitive second round and 14 more in the third to earn the win by 29-28 margins on all three official scorecards.
He eluded a takedown to begin the final minute and landed well in a follow-up flurry, which could have sealed the decision. After the fight, he insisted he'd fight five more times.
"I'm going to reinvent myself and come back different every time," said Belfort, who had lost three straight fights by stoppage, though the most recent of those losses was overturned by a failed drug test. "I wanted to get a knockout, but I'm sorry I couldn't get it. I wasn't satisfied by my performance."
Middleweights Paulo Borrachinha and Oluwale Bamgbose put on an exciting, albeit brief, display of violence that ultimately ended with Borrachinha as a second-round winner.
The Brazil-born Borrachinha, 26, improved to 10-0 after scoring well in the late going of the first round with a kick to the body, and Bamgbose seemed exhausted by the end of the first five minutes.
Borrachinha followed up with a flurry to begin the second and scored the victory at 1:06 when the battle went to the mat.
Bamgbose, nicknamed the "Holy War Angel," is now 6-3.
Yancy Medeiros opened the PPV show with a second-round stoppage of Erick Silva in a back-and-forth welterweight bout that had been scheduled for three rounds.
The American landed 19 strikes to Silva's 15 in a close opening round, though Silva's moments were more decisive thanks to effective leg kicks. Medeiros dropped his foe with a left hand in the second, however, and prompted a stoppage by referee Eduardo Herdy that even the winner considered a little premature.
Medeiros improved to 14-4, while Silva, from Brazil, fell to 19-8.
Kelleher def. Alcantara. New York-based bantamweight Brian Kelleher scored the biggest preliminary surprise with a first-round submission defeat of local hero Iuri Alcantara via guillotine choke.
The American was making his UFC debut and entered the night as the second-biggest underdog on the card, but gained the submission from the Brazilian in just 1 minute, 48 seconds.
Kelleher quickly called upon Dana White to provide him a top-10 foe -- Alcantara entered ranked No. 13 at 135 pounds -- yelling over a hushed crowd, "I came to Brazil and I took out your hometown boy."
Lopez def. Eduardo. Once-beaten bantamweight Matthew Lopez subsequently scored a first-round stoppage of his own in the bantamweight division, toppling No. 10-ranked Johnny Eduardo after 2:57.
Lopez was a slight favorite in spite of his opponent's lofty position, and he quickly took control after getting matters to the mat shortly before the 2-minute mark.
A prolonged pummeling followed and prompted an intervention from referee Mario Yamasaki.
"It's very satisfying," Lopez said. "Anybody in the top-10, holler, I'm ready."
Carlos Junior def. Spicely. Brazilian middleweight Antonio Carlos Junior won his third straight bout, this time via second-round submission over American Eric Spicely, who tapped out while locked in a rear-naked choke at 3:49.
The match was a duel of jiu-jitsu experts and remained almost exclusively on the mat with exchanges of subtle tactical moves in the early going. Carlos Junior was able to gain back control early in the second, however, and was ultimately able to maneuver his way into the choke.
It was Carlos Junior's third consecutive victory.
"I'm the new generation and I'm here to stay," he said. "I've grown up in the UFC and I'm ready for whoever comes."
Assuncao def. Moraes. Third-ranked bantamweight Raphael Assuncao spoiled the UFC debut of fellow Brazilian Marlon Moraes, winning a narrow split-decision in their tactical three-round bout.
Assuncao landed a pair of jolting right hands to perhaps steal the first round, then carried the action -- though hardly in dominant fashion -- to eke out Round 2 as well.
Moraes had his best round in the third and wound up landed 41 strikes to Assuncao's 37 overall for three rounds, but nevertheless lost the verdict by 29-28 and 30-27 counts on two official scorecards.
The third judge had Moraes winning, 29-28.
CBS Sports agreed with the majority, scoring it 29-28 for the winner.
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UFC 212 results
|Max Holloway||Jose Aldo||3rd round TKO|
|Claudia Gadelha||Karolina Kowalkiewicz||1st round submission (Rear-naked choke)|
|Vitor Belfort||Nate Marquardt||Unanimous decision|
|Paulo Borrachinha||Oluwale Bamgbose||2nd round TKO|
2nd round TKO
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