The second matchup between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo looked a whole lot like the first.
In June, Holloway, of Waianae, Hawaii, waited out the two-time former UFC featherweight champion for two rounds before turning up the heat in the third and taking the Brazilian's title via TKO.
That's precisely what played out again Saturday night at UFC 218. Holloway (19-3) turned up the heat in the third and laid a wicked beating on Aldo before the bout at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The time of the stoppage in the evening's main event was 4:51.
"I knew he was tired already, that was the whole thing," Holloway said after his 12th consecutive victory. "My training camp was to bring him into deep waters, I know he can't swim, and then drown him."
In the evening's co-feature bout, the brightest heavyweight prospect in quite some time made a major statement in his biggest career test.
Francis Ngannou (11-1), a Las Vegas resident by way of Cameroon and Paris, scored a frightening knockout of former Strikforce champion Alistair Overeem of the Netherlands (43-16). A wicked left hook put Overeem in a toes-curled unconscious state and ended the bout in only 1:42.
"I feel pretty good," said Ngannou (11-1), who has scored all 11 of his victories inside two rounds. "I took this because the winner should get a title shot and I think I got it."
Phoenix flyweight Henry Cejudo (12-2) was a 2008 Olympic wrestling gold medalist, and Saturday, he showed those grappling skills haven't faded. Cejudo took down Sergio Pettis (16-3) of Milwaukee early and often and outworked him for a one-sided unanimous decision victory. The judges' scores were 30-27 across the board.
"I felt stronger out there," Cejudo said after his second straight win. "I never felt his power. My plan was to wrestle a little more, let my hands go when we were standing and I imposed my will."
A highly anticipated battle of lightweight sluggers lived up to high expectations. Eddie Alvarez (29-5, 1 no-contest) of Philadelphia and Justin Gaethje (18-1) of Phoenix threw down for a brutal three rounds, with Geathje's relentless leg kicks being matches by Alvarez's high volume of body shots.
In the end, though, a knockout knee ended matters, as Alvarez dropped Geathje at 3:59 of the third round.
Alvarez has been champion in the UFC and rival promotion Bellator, but said he's not worried about belts anymore.
"I want the title of most violent fighter," Alvarez said. "That's the title that represents what the fans want to see."
In the main card opener, Tecia Torres (10-1) of Fall River, Mass., posted the biggest win of her career with a unanimous decision victory over former Invicta atomweight champ Michelle Waterson (15-6) of Albuquerque, N.M. Torres was simultaneously aggressive and smart with her striking and was close to getting a finish when the final horn rang.
The judges scores the bout 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 for a unanimous decision as Torres scored her third straight win.
"I wanted to seal the deal in the third," Torres said. "I just kept throwing and looking for the finish. My goal in the third round was to finish her, but I'm very happy to get the win."