UFC 212 featured a changing of the guard in the featherweight division, and both the old and new champion were rewarded for their efforts.
Max Holloway and Jose Aldo received “Fight of the Night” honors and $50,000 apiece for their their entertaining clash in Saturday’s main event at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. While Aldo set the tone early with a burst of punches in the first frame, Holloway gradually found his footing and took control as the bout progressed. The Hawaiian dropped Aldo with a two-punch combination in the third round, and aggressively pursued the finish from there, eventually forcing a stoppage with unanswered blows on his turtled foe at the 4:13 mark.
Elsewhere, Claudia Gadelha garnered a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for her dominant triumph over recent strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Gadelha landed a takedown halfway through the opening frame, took her opponent’s back and secured the fight-ending rear-naked choke at the 3:03 mark of the period.
Finally, underdog Brian Kelleher captured the evening’s other $50,000 “Performance of the Night” award for his first-round submission of Iuri Alcantara in a preliminary bantamweight affair. Alcantara began the contest as the aggressor but saw his fortunes changed after shooting for an ill-advised takedown. In a matter of moments, the Brazilian was trapped in a guillotine and forced to tap out 1:48 into round one.