An insane war between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez have fought out an absolute UFC classic in the main event of the UFC Vegas card.
Holloway, who has fought Aussie champion Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title twice, claimed the unanimous 49-46, 47-46×2 win but it was the epitome of a UFC war with both men leaving the octagon bloodied and bruised.
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And the respect between the pair was clear as Holloway paid tribute to Rodriguez immediately after the fight.
Holloway said: “This guy’s a beast.”
“Give it up for Yair, this guy’s a freaking warrior,” he added. “I got nothing but love for this guy.
“Two years, two f***ing years and this guy put a performance like this, nothing but love brother.”
And he wasn’t alone in appreciating the fight.
While many on social media believed that Holloway had won, Rodriguez’s performance was heavily praised by fans.
As for what’s next, he said “we got Alex and stuff, I’m on the short list for Conor McGregor, tell them to hit my line.”
As Michael Bisping asked again what he wanted next, Holloway said: “To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and the best is Blessed, they can come after me baby, let’s get it.”
Volkanovski was quick to have his say on the fight, taking to Twitter.
During the fight he tweeted: “Great round!! @panteraufc standing his ground and not letting max get going.”
He also paid respect after the fight, adding: “Great fight!! Very competitive…well done lads”.
‘Crazy’ KO takes UFC savagery to next level
The UFC Vegas card has delivered in spades with nine finishes in the first 10 fights but welterweight Kalinn “Khaos” Williams has delivered one of the biggest statements.
The 27-year-old was in the third round of his fight with Miguel Baeza when he dropped an absolute bomb to fold Baeza in half.
Williams’ brutal right hand landed as flush as you could imagine, leaving Baeza’s lights out as he appeared dazed on the ground, the commentators saying he didn’t appear to know how he got there.
“Oh man, his whole head snaps to the side, just a beautiful right land land,” Paul Felder said in commentary.
It had been a close fight to that point as the scorecards showed that Williams was ahead on just one judges scorecard and was locked at 19-all on the other two.
But Williams, who moved to 4-1 in the UFC, made a statement.
“I was made for this,” Williams said after his third UFC KO. “I was counted out before I even got here. They know I’m a threat now.”
It was an action packed card for the Holloway-Rodriguez fight night.
The co-main event between heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Marcos Rogerio de Lima ended in just 32 seconds as Rogerio de Lima landed a monster shot early and left the American rocked, forcing referee Herb Dean to call the fight early.
It continues a brutal card that had seen eight TKO/KO finishes, a submission and just one fight to go the distance.
McGregor’s childish swipe at UFC foe
Irish UFC superstar Conor McGregor simply couldn’t resist an opportunity to sledge rival Max Holloway ahead of his bout with Yair Rodriguez on Sunday morning AEDT.
Holloway and Rodriguez are poised to face off at UFC Apex in Las Vegas for a main event featherweight encounter in the Octagon.
But hours before the fight, McGregor took a swipe at the former UFC champion on Twitter.
“Max is big time! Can’t wait to watch this day show at the APEX,” McGregor tweeted.
“Hey twitter! The fighter that has absorbed the most head strikes in UFC history competes tonight. Max Holloway. Can’t wait to watch.
“Best boxer my ass crack. The guys been smack
ed the most smacks in ufc history! Most shots absorbed is not best boxer guys I’m sorry, and I love the kid.”
McGregor defeated Holloway via unanimous decision when they faced off in August 2013.
The main card in Las Vegas gets underway at 8am AEDT, while Holloway and Rodriguez will enter the Octagon sometime after 10am.
UFC Fight Night full card
Max Holloway defeated Yair Rodriguez via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47×2)
Marcos Rogerio de Lima defeated Ben Rothwell via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:32
Felicia Spencer defeated Leah Letson via TKO (elbows and Punches) – Round 3, 4:25
Khaos Williams defeated Miguel Baeza via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:02
Song Yadong defeated Julio Arce via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:35
Joel Alvarez defeated Thiago Moises via TKO (elbows and punches) – Round 1, 3:04
Andrea Lee defeated Cynthia Calvillo via TKO (corner retirement) – Round 2, 5:00
Sean Woodson defeated Collin Anglin via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:30
Cortney Casey defeated Liana Jojua via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Rafael Alves defeated Marc Diakiese via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:48
Da Un Jung defeated Kennedy Nzechukwu via KO (elbows) – Round 1, 3:04