Max Holloway Steals Show at UFC 300 With KO in Dying Seconds of Fight

April 14, 2024
1 month

Max Holloway didn’t care that he was likely ahead on the scorecards. With 10 seconds remaining in his fight with Justin Gaethje for the BMF title Saturday night at UFC 300, Holloway pointed to the center of the octagon and invited his opponent to trade punches with him. Gaethje happily accommodated.

In a night with two championship fights following it, what Gaethje and Holloway produced was a wild exchange that MMA fans won’t forget. Holloway and Gaethje both winged power shots at each other, according to the best MMA news sites.

Holloway connected cleanly with Gaethje, sending him slumping face-first to the canvas. Gaethje was out cold with one second left in the fight. It marked the second consecutive fight Holloway had knocked his opponent out in spectacular fashion. For Holloway, it opened the door for him to challenge for another championship.

Following the fight, Holloway called out featherweight champion Ilia Topuria and lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.  Holloway, a former featherweight title holder, became the third person to win the mostly ceremonial BMF title. Jorge Masvidal was the inaugural champion, while Gaethje grabbed the belt following a knockout win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 291.

Pereira Cements His Legacy

Alex Pereira was initially brought into the UFC due to his history with long-time kickboxing rival Israel Adesanya. But Pereira doesn’t have to worry about being remembered just for his back-and-forth with Adesanya. Pereira defended his light heavyweight championship by flooring former champion Jamahal Hill with a vicious hook in the first round.

MMAfighting latest news shows Hill was making a return to the octagon after he had to vacate the championship after suffering an ACL injury playing basketball last summer. Hill may have wished he had taken some more time to recover.

After being hit with a low blow, Pereira waved off referee Herb Dean when he was about to call timeout. That’s when Pereira stepped forward and hit Hill with a hook that sent him sprawling to the octagon. Pereira then struck while Hill was on the ground to finish the fight.

In the post-fight interview, Pereira said he would like to go to heavyweight next. Pereira was already a middleweight champion and may try to become the first three-division champion in UFC history.

Weili Chokes Opponent Unconscious, Wins by Decision

Yan Xiaonan was unconscious at the end of the first round of her challenge for the strawweight title. But despite Xiaonan being on shaky legs, referee Jason Herzog allowed her to return to her corner. Champion Zhang Weili may have held onto the choke past the end of the round, which caused Xianon to go out.

When the first UFC title fight resumed, Weili had to fight through fatigue to stay on top of Xiaonan. Xiaonan scored a knockdown in the third round and appeared to grab the momentum. But that would be short-lived.

Weili leaned on her grappling and did enough to pick up a decision victory and retain her championship.

Tsarukyan is Ready for His Closeup

Arman Tsarukyan’s toughness was never in doubt. Twice, Tsarukyan was in the unenviable position of defending himself from a choke attempt by former lightweight champion and submission specialist Charles Oliveira. But Tsarukyan did enough to survive and win the split decision.

Now, Tsarukyan hopes to avenge the loss from his UFC debut. He took a fight with now-champion Makhachev on five days’ notice. But that is something that people running MMA news sites can worry about.

Tsarukyan’s submission defense was impressive in his fight. Oliveira had him trapped in a guillotine in the first round that Tsarukyan was able to wiggle out of. Tsarukyan also fought off a D’arce choke attempt in the third round as the clock was winding down.

Nickal Seemed Out of Place

The Bo Nickal hype train is slowly losing passengers. Nickal, an outstanding collegiate wrestler at Penn State, came into the UFC with the thought that he could develop into a title challenger. But Nickal’s middleweight fight with Cody Brundage shows he has a long way to go.

Brundage stung Nickal with a punch in the first round, which sent Nickal scrambling for a takedown. While Nickal did secure the takedown, he wasn’t able to secure a first-round finish for the first time in his MMA career.

While Nickal did submit Brundage in the second round, it showed him that he had a lot of work to do to get to the top.

Procházka Not Ready to Be Sent Down the Rankings

Jiří Procházka lost his last shot at grabbing the light heavyweight gold. At UFC 295, Pereira knocked Procházka out in the second round. But Procházka’s performance in the featured prelim at UFC 300 put him right back in the conversation for a title.

Procházka had to utilize all of his toughness to survive. Aleksandar Rakić beat Procházka up with several hard leg kicks that stunted Procházka’s movement. But Procházka rallied in the second round.

Procházka still threw heavy power shots and didn’t seem threatened by what Rakić could answer with. Procházka would end up catching Rakić with punches and earning a second-round TKO, the 26th knockout victory of his career.

Holly Holm Runs out of Upsets

Holly Holm had been involved in this movie before. Holm was asked to fight an American judoka who had won a medal at the Olympics. But Holm didn’t handle Kayla Harrison the same way she did Ronda Rousey.

Instead of trying to force Harrison to strike, Holm decided to try and clinch. Harrison welcomed the invitation to grapple and submitted Holm with a rear-naked choke in the second round. Harrison had long been one of the big-ticket free agents who had avoided the UFC. Now, she appears to be a contender to become the bantamweight champion.

Here’s a look at the rest of the fights not mentioned above:

  • Featherweight, Aljamain Sterling win by decision over Calvin Kattar, 30-27 (x3)
  • Featherweight, Diego Lopes win by TKO (punches) over Sodiq Yusuff, Round 1 1:29
  • Lightweight, Renato Moicano win by TKO (punches) over Jalin Turner, Round 2 4:11
  • Women’s strawweight, Jessica Andrade win by split decision over Marina Rodriguez, 29-28 Andrade (x2), 29-28 Rodriguez
  • Lightweight, Bobby Green win by decision over Jim Miller (30-27, 30-25, 29-26)
  • Bantamweight, Deiveson Figueiredo win by submission (rear-naked choke) over Cody Garbrandt, Round 2 4:02

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By Dean McHugh.