Max Holloway is still the best featherweight on the planet.
After a brief stop at lightweight that saw the Hawaiian champion suffer his first defeat in 13 fights, Holloway returned to 145 pounds and defended his throne with a striking showcase to turn back Frankie Edgar in the UFC 240 main event.
Holloway was methodical with his combinations, popping Edgar in the mush on numerous occasions and simply landing more shots over the course of 25 minutes. When it was over, the judges saw the fight 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47 with all three giving the decision to Holloway.
“Frankie’s a true warrior. Give it up for this guy,” Holloway shouted to the Edmonton crowd after his latest win.
It was a typical slow start for the featherweight champion with Holloway fending off some early offense from Edgar in the opening round. Once Holloway was able to measure his timing and distance, he started to land his punches with power and accuracy.
Holloway continuously found a home for his right uppercut that snapped Edgar’s head back and forced the New Jersey native to reset. While Edgar managed to clip Holloway with some solid punches, he just couldn’t do the kind of damage that would force the featherweight king to rethink his strategy.
As time ticked away in the fight, Holloway gained confidence as he was able to walk Edgar down on numerous occasions with a stiff jab that had a stream of blood flowing from the 37-year old former champion’s nose.
Known for his suffocating volume and relentless pace, Holloway displayed the best of his skills throughout the fight but Edgar would not go away no matter how many punches he absorbed. Even in the few moments when it appeared Holloway had Edgar stunned, the New Jersey native found a way to get out of trouble often times by looking for takedowns.
As the fight came to a close, Holloway was still connecting with regularity while Edgar was just trying to find a way to get inside his opponent’s reach but he never found the opening.
The victory puts Holloway at 14-1 in his past 15 fights with another impressive victory over a former champion in Edgar as he continues to cement his legacy as arguably the greatest featherweight fighter of all time.
Holloway will now almost certainly move onto face top ranked contender Alexander Volkanovski in his next title defense.
As for Edgar, he has now suffered five consecutive losses in title fights in the UFC including three straight attempts to win featherweight gold.
“I expected everything he brought. Max is a stud. He’s the best guy in the world,” Edgar said following the loss. “It’s just tough you know. I’m not done. I’ve got a lot of fight in me.”