Holloway beats Edgar, defends featherweight title
- Jan-Jaap Abbink
Max Holloway has made a successful return to his featherweight throne.
After an interim title fight loss at lightweight in April, Holloway came back home to featherweight, beating Frankie Edgar to retain his UFC title Saturday night in the main event of UFC 240 at Rogers Place. The victory came via comprehensive unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 48-47) against a game Edgar, the former lightweight champion. It was Holloway's third successful 145-pound title defense.
"Everybody said I wasn't able to wrestle with this guy," Holloway said. "I wanted to prove a point and go five rounds with him, so I could let the world know I'm here to stay. The 'Blessed' express is still on the move."
The first round was very close, with Edgar having some of his best moments, landing a nice right hand. But as it got later, Holloway got better, as he has been known to do. The champion bloodied the challenger with a right hand in the second and finished the frame with a spinning back kick to the body.
Holloway nearly finished Edgar in the third round, knocking out his mouthpiece with a pair of uppercuts. Holloway moved forward and landed a combination against the cage, but Edgar scored a late takedown that allowed him to survive.
Things didn't get much better for Edgar in the fourth and fifth rounds, though. Holloway's range and precise striking was too much. Holloway busted Edgar's nose with a jab in the fourth and finished that round strong with a combination and spinning back kick. Edgar came back with a solid fifth round, but again Holloway kept him on the end of his jab and landed hard right hands.
Edgar tried to get away from Holloway's striking via his vaunted wrestling, particularly late in the fight, but failed on 13 of 14 takedown attempts. Holloway extended his record of fights with more than 100 significant strikes landed to nine.
"Frankie is a true warrior," Holloway said. "He's the guy who inspired me to be here. You're the man, Frank."
Holloway (21-4) went up to fight Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 three months ago and lost by unanimous decision. The Hawai'ian striker took some damage in that fight, but came back no worse for wear. Holloway, 27, has won 13 straight at featherweight and owns a UFC-record 16 wins at 145 pounds. This was Holloway's first decision victory since he beat Ricardo Lamas at UFC 199 in June 2016.
Edgar (22-7-1), a future UFC Hall of Famer, was competing in his ninth career UFC title bout. The New Jersey native is now the first fighter to spend more than seven total hours in the Octagon during his UFC career. Edgar, 37, is 0-3 in featherweight title fights, with the previous two losses coming against Jose Aldo. He had not fought since an April 2018 win over Cub Swanson, the longest layoff of his 14-year career.