Holloway stormed in with heavy stirkes in the closing sequence, getting the technical knockout at 4:50 in the third round.
“Let’s get the [expletive] real one,” Holloway exclaimed, calling out current UFC 145-pound champ Jose Aldo in his post-fight interview.
Each fighter spent much of the opening round carefully measureing the other, trading leg kicks early on. As Pettis closed the distance, he landed short combinations, but Holloway countered well and landed strikes as his opponent stepped away. The round ended with Pettis attempting a single-leg takedown to no avail.
Holloway was more aggressive in the second and landed a counter-right hand that dropped Pettis. He remained active in pushing the pace, even as Pettis attempted a cartwheel kick mid-round. The two engaged in a clinch towards the end of the round, and Holloway appeared to get the better of the exchanges.
After suffering an inadvertent low blow in the third, Pettis looked to recover from the hit by utilizing his kicks. He paid for it, however, and Holloway executed two trip takedowns, the second of which included him landing some ground and pound.
Holloway later landed a left hand that dazed Pettis. He then landed a kick to the mid section followed by several punches and Pettis curled up against the cage. The referee then pulled Holloway off his opponent and brought an end to the fight.
With the win, Holloway secures the interim featherweight championship and will next face Aldo for the undisputed belt at a soon-to-be-determined card.
Following the loss, Pettis said he’ll be returning to 155 pounds, explaining that he can’t make the difficult cut to 145.