UFC 212 Recap: Holloway is Undisputed, Gadelha Dominates Again
A recap of the main and co-main events from UFC 212.
Updated: June 5, 2017 • 11:14 AM ET
Brazilian fans had a lot to cheer for and be disappointed about at UFC 212.
A new era has begun in the UFC’s featherweight division after Max Holloway’s masterful victory over Jose Aldo in Brazil at UFC 212.
Holloway landed a powerful combination in Round 3 that sent Aldo to the canvas and then took total control with vicious ground-and-pound blows, forcing referee John McCarthy to stop the fight. With the win, Holloway has now snagged the title of undisputed featherweight champion and solidified his position as the best 145-pound fighter in the world.
The win over Aldo was Holloway’s 11th straight victory, and at just 25 years old, he has set himself up to go down as an all-time great. He continues to improve with every fight and has now beaten the best featherweight UFC fans have seen to boost his confidence.
Other than the 13 seconds Aldo was in the octagon with Conor McGregor, he has never been beaten by another fighter the way Holloway dominated him. McGregor caught Aldo, which can happen to any fighter, but Holloway beat him. Fans also discovered that Holloway can take a punch as well as he can give one. He was cracked on the chin by Aldo in the first round, but showed no signs of panic and was able to weather the storm.
The ultimate question now is, who gets the first shot at taking the title from Holloway. The expectation would be a showdown with Frankie Edgar after his defeat of rising star Yair Rodriguez at UFC 211. Cub Swanson has different ideas as he took to Twitter after Holloway’s victory asking for a rematch with the newly crowned champ.
Swanson has put together a four-fight win streak, but his last two losses are to Holloway and Edgar and his victories haven’t come against top ranked opponents. He was dominated by Holloway and submitted in the third round, so Swanson getting a shot before Edgar is a tough sell.
The ultimate matchmaker’s dream would be a rematch between Holloway and McGregor, the last man to defeat Holloway. However, it’s unlikely that McGregor will ever fight at 145 pounds again, and Holloway isn’t holding his breath for the rematch.
“This guy's over here always trying to look for the bigger thing and that's him," Holloway said in his post-fight press conference. "Good for him. I ain't going to chase someone around.
“I ain't going to talk about someone that ain't talking about me. He gets to choose his fights. Why am I going to cry and beg him to fight me? Get the hell out of here with that shit. He can beg to fight me now.”
No matter who he fights next, Holloway deserves a world tour because he has championship qualities that every fan can appreciate.
In the night’s co-main event, Claudia Gadelha cemented herself as the best strawweight fighter in the world, not named Joanna Jedrzejczyk, as she submitted Karolina Kowalkiewicz via rear naked choke in the first round. Gadelha looked like the more skilled fighter and made the victory look easy, sending her native Brazilian fan base into a frenzy.
Gadelha, though, doesn’t feel she deserves an immediate title shot and rematch with Jedrzejczyk. Speaking after the fight, Gadelha said, “In reality, I think that the fight has no appeal," Gadelha said. "Joanna and I, again, we fought twice. On paper, I have to defeats to Joanna.
“So, I don't like to have fights like that. I want fights where the fans, the UFC itself, the executives, a fight that people want to watch. So I'm sure that if the UFC gave me a title shot right now, people would be saying ‘ you know, she lost to Joanna twice. That’s not what I want to do”
Should she wait for her shot, Gadelha still poses the biggest threat to Jedrzejczyk. As she steadily improves her game, perhaps another fight or two before a rematch is the best option for her.
After incredible performances, fans can only hope that Holloway gets the victory tour he deserves and Gadelha stays busy to build up anticipation to a possible third fight with the champion, Jedrzejczyk.