Hawaii’s Holloway, 27, eased his way into the fight before upping his intensity as the fight progressed to secure scores of 50-45 49-46 48-47 on the judges’ scorecards to extend his winning streak at featherweight to 14 with a unanimous decision victory. Max Holloway retains UFC featherweight title.
Edgar started the fight looking sharp, but as the opening round progressed Holloway started to find a home for his punches, with his right uppercut, in particular, having repeated success. And as the fight moved into the middle rounds Holloway hit his stride as he loaded up on his strikes and started to catch the New Jersey native almost at will.
And the Hawaiian star’s composure and conditioning held up against Edgar’s relentless forward pressure as he effectively counter-struck his way to a ‘==lopsided victory on the scorecards.
Holloway took a brief break from featherweight title duties earlier in 2019 when he moved up a weight class to challenge for the vacant interim lightweight title against American Dustin Poirier.
But after suffering his first defeat since 2013, he returned to his natural weight class to successfully defend his title and maintain his dominant win streak at 145lb as he further cemented his legacy as one of the best featherweight fighters in UFC history.
After his win, Holloway said he wanted to prove a point by outworking Edgar, who has a well-earned reputation as one of the fittest fighters in the sport.
“Everybody said I wasn’t going to be able to wrestle with this guy. Everybody said I wasn’t going to be able to stay with his pace.
“I wanted to prove a point and go five rounds with him so I can let the world know that I’m here to stay, and the ‘Blessed’ express is still on the move. Choo choo!
“Frankie is a true warrior. He’s the guy who inspired me to be here. You’re the man, Frank.”
Meanwhile, a crestfallen Edgar paid tribute to the champion, saying: “I expected everything he brought. Max is a stud, man. He represents our sport to the best, represents this division to the best. He’s the best guy in the world.
“I need to go back to the drawing board and regroup. I’m not done. I’ve got a lot of fight in me, man. Max is the best guy in the world and I fought pretty damn tough.”
‘Cyborg’ bounces back amid uncertain future
In the night’s co-main event, former UFC featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino returned to winning ways with a unanimous decision victory over previously-unbeaten contender Felicia Spencer in the final fight of her UFC contract.
Justino’s last outing saw her dramatically lose her UFC title to compatriot Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 last December. And the 34-year-old produced a strong striking display to turn back the charge of Canadian Spencer to cement her position as the number one contender for her old title.
Spencer’s strengths were in her wrestling and grappling skills, but she was unable to get the former world champion to the canvas as Justino shrugged off her takedown attempts and fired back with stinging punches.
Despite Justino’s total dominance in the striking realm, Spencer’s sheer toughness and grit kept her in the fight as she absorbed everything the Brazilian could throw at her as she took the power-punching former world champion to the scorecards.
Justino’s win extended her record to 21-2, but her immediate future remains uncertain. The UFC wants her to sign a new deal and face current champ Nunes in a rematch, but rival promotion Bellator is also believed to be keen to secure her signature.