Max Holloway became the new UFC featherweight champion after beating Jose Aldo at UFC 212 in Rio Janeiro, Brazil. “Blessed” revealed the strategy he used to take down Aldo in their title unification bout.
“When I was putting my hand out and stuff, every time I’d put it, he would shut it down,” Holloway told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “He would throw something, he would do something reactive. Every time in the beginning rounds when I feinted at him, he was jumping back. I [saw these] big motions from him and he was countering super fast at certain things I was doing. I told myself, he’s not firing. It’s time to taunt. Let’s taunt. Let’s see if he cracks me. I taunted him — I put my hands up for a couple of seconds. And he didn’t do nothing. I was like OK, I’m gonna do it again. And he did nothing. I was like man, this guy don’t want to fight.”
Max Holloway reveals his plan started as early as first round
At UFC 212, Jose Aldo started the bout aggressively, resulting for him to win the first two rounds against Max Holloway. Aldo looked determined to end the fight early and almost got Holloway in the first round. However, Holloway didn’t let Aldo take full control of the match and bounced back in the third round.
To everyone’s surprise, “Blessed” quickly overturned the outcome of the fight and defeated Aldo via TKO. Holloway revealed that everything that happened since the first round was part of his strategy. After observing his opponent’s movement, he already figured out that his strategy would work well.
“I already knew our game plan was gonna work,” Holloway said. “There’s enough tape. Aldo, he’s one of the greatest ever, but it’s just time for a new era. It’s time for the new wave of guys, us young guys are coming up and we’re proving it. We’re showing to the world that we’re here to stay, we’re taking forever. MMA is forever evolving. You either evolve with the sport or you get left behind. I’m trying to lead the back. I’m trying to sprint.”
Jose Aldo suffering from leg injury during Max Holloway fight
During the fight, it was very noticeable that Aldo rarely threw kicks. He only managed to throw one kick against Holloway and was countered. Aldo’s coach Andre Pederneiras revealed that his fighter didn’t throw many kicks because they knew Holloway would counter with punches.
Also, it was revealed that Aldo was suffering from a leg injury before UFC 212. The injury prevented him from exerting too much effort on his lower body during his training. However, Aldo’s camp doesn’t want to use it as an excuse for losing the belt at UFC 212.