By all rights, Holloway already should have challenged for the UFC featherweight championship, but circumstances being what they are, he has had to bide his time and continue piling win upon win. This victory over Lamas is his ninth consecutive and over a man that has challenged for the belt. It etches Holloway as the best UFC featherweight fighter that has yet to challenge for the belt.
With featherweight champ Conor McGregor tied up at welterweight with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 and Jose Aldo fighting Frankie Edgar for the interim belt at UFC 200, Holloway may still have to wait a while for his title shot, but he can no longer be denied.
Holloway set the pace from the beginning of the fight, taking the center of the Octagon and landing short flurries of punches in the opening couple of minutes. He hurt Lamas about two minutes into the fight with a punch combination followed by a knee to the body, but didn’t get ahead of himself.
Lamas tried to recover and shot a couple of takedowns, but Holloway defended the shot well on both occasions, easily taking the first round.
Lamas started much stronger in round two, holding his own on the feet with Holloway, but couldn’t maintain it when Holloway started shifting stances and taking him out of his rhythm. Lamas again tried to shoot the takedown, but nearly got caught in a choke for his efforts, as Holloway easily defended.
Holloway finished out the second frame with another solid punch combination followed by a wheel kick to the head.
Lamas probably had his best round of the fight in the third frame, but that may have been because he was desperate and pushing forward, while Holloway seemed to slow down a bit.
Lamas chased after Holloway through much of the final five minutes, but Holloway avoided any damaging blows. In the final 10 seconds of the round, Lamas gave Holloway a look that the Hawaiian interpreted as wanting to throw down, so he obliged.
The two swung wild in the final 10 seconds, each landing some hard shots, but neither being able to put the other away.
“He told me he wanted to bang… so I let him bang,” Holloway said after the judges awarded him a unanimous decision for his efforts.
“Let’s get back to business now. Who in here wants to see a Hawaiian fight for the belt. That’s me, Max Holloway,” he continued. “And who in here wants to see a UFC in Hawaii?”