Pettis wandered into oncoming traffic and has the tread marks
to prove it.
Holloway ran over “Showtime” in the UFC
206 headliner on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto,
as he stopped the Milwaukee native with third-round punches to
capture the interim Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight
title. Finished for the first time in his 25-fight career, Pettis
succumbed to blows 4:50 into Round 3.
Everything went according to plan for Holloway. The 25-year-old
Hawaiian withstood Pettis’ expected onslaught of kicks, countered
beautifully throughout and pieced together damaging multi-punch
combinations to the body and head. Holloway outstruck the former
lightweight champion in every round, increasing his output as time
wore on. According to FightMetric data, he landed 23 of his 58
strikes in the first round, 29 of 66 in the second and 46 of 88 in
the third, where he blew away Pettis with a body kick and follow-up
punches on the fence.
In wake of UFC 206 “Holloway vs. Pettis,” here are five matches
that ought to be made (online betting):
Holloway vs. Jose Aldo:
Holloway has rattled off 10 consecutive victories, establishing
himself as one of the sport’s elite fighters at 145 pounds. The
Gracie Technics rep has shown rapid improvement in all phases
during his current tear -- a trend that figures to continue for the
foreseeable future. With Pettis, Ricardo
Stephens and Charles
Oliveira in his rearview mirror, Holloway has set his sights on
a unification bout with Aldo for the undisputed featherweight
championship. Aldo last competed at UFC 200 on July 9, when he was
awarded a unanimous decision over Frankie
Cerrone vs. Jorge
Masvidal: Cerrone continued to shine as a welterweight and
remained unbeaten at 170 pounds, as he cut down Matt Brown
with a third-round head kick in their co-main event. “Cowboy”
weathered a second-round knockdown to record his 19th win inside
the Octagon, tying him with Georges St.
Pierre for second on the UFC’s all-time list. While Cerrone has
always been open to a return to the 155-pound weight class, his
move to welterweight has proven fruitful: He has finished Brown,
Story, Patrick Cote
Oliveira. Masvidal last appeared at “The Ultimate Fighter 24”
Finale on Dec. 3, when he walked away with a bizarre technical
knockout victory over Jake
Swanson vs. Dennis
Jung winner: In what was easily one of the most memorable
fights of 2016, Swanson emerged victorious against South Korean
prospect Doo Ho Choi.
The Jackson-Wink MMA mainstay hit Choi with every weapon in his
arsenal across three unforgettable rounds, netting a unanimous
decision. Swanson, 33, has rebounded from back-to-back submission
losses to Edgar and Holloway with consecutive victories over Choi,
Kawajiri and Hacran Dias.
He remains a factor at 145 pounds. Bermudez and Jung will square
off in a UFC Fight Night headliner on Feb. 4 in Houston.
Cirkunov vs. Corey
Anderson: Cirkunov improved to 4-0 in the UFC and cleared his
latest hurdle in the light heavyweight division, as he submitted
Krylov with a first-round guillotine choke in the featured UFC
206 prelim. The Canada-based Latvian dazed Krylov with a clubbing
left hand before catching the guillotine and forcing the tapout.
Cirkunov has won eight fights in a row, all of them finishes, and
surfaced as a real threat at 205 pounds. Anderson routed Sean
O’Connell at UFC Fight Night 102 on Dec. 9, disposing of the
Horn protégé with second-round punches at the Times Union
Center in Albany, New York. “The Ultimate Fighter 19” winner has
won four of his last five fights, a contentious split decision loss
to Mauricio Rua
his only misstep.
Pettis vs. Ross
Pearson: Once on his way to becoming an all-time great, Pettis
instead finds his career in limbo after the loss to Holloway. The
longtime Duke Roufus understudy conceded he could not successfully
make 145 pounds and plans to return to the lightweight division he
once ruled. However, he will do so having gone 1-4 across his past
five outings. Pettis turns 30 in January, and there are legitimate
questions about how he fits into the UFC’s plans moving forward.
Pearson last fought at UFC Fight Night 99 on Nov. 19, when he wound
up on the wrong side of a split decision against Stevie Ray.