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UFC 206 serves up a night of exciting fights and win for Hawaii’s Max Holloway

In this Dec. 12, 2015 file photo, Max Holloway warms up before fighting Jeremy Stephens in a featherweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194 in Las Vegas. The UFC took another step toward filling Conor McGregor's sizable featherweight shoes when Max Holloway took on Anthony Pettis in the main event of UFC 206 on Saturday night in Toronto. Dec. 10, 2016. John Locher/AP photo

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s premiere Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organization, returned to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada on Saturday night with a very memorable fight card.

The main event for UFC 206 saw 25-year-old Hawaiian, Max “Blessed” Holloway, become UFC’s interim featherweight (145lbs) champion over former lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis via a vicious technical knockout finish.

After stunning Pettis to the body with a spinning back kick late in the third round, Holloway unleashed a barrage of punches on his opponent who then crumbled against the cage. Referee Yves Lavigne was forced to stop the bout with only 10 seconds remaining in the round.

“I don’t finish guys early, you know. Everybody’s like: ‘Go in there and get a first round finish’. That’s just not what I do. I like to take people into deep waters, let them think they can compete with me. All of my finishes come later in the rounds,” Holloway expressed at the post-fight press conference.

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Saturday night marked the very first time Pettis had been stopped in his entire MMA career. His record now stands at 19 victories and 6 losses. And after failing to make the 145 lbs limit for this last fight, Pettis stated that he would return to the weight class where he once held the title at 155lbs.

“Max Holloway is a beast. He did this right. He stood up with me and he got the belt. He’s a good fighter. It’s too much for me to make this weight cut to 145 lbs. I have to go back up, it’s too hard,” confessed Pettis afterwards.

Moreover, Pettis fractured his right hand on the very first punch he landed in the first round and will require surgery.

Holloway (17-3) is now riding a remarkable 10-fight winning streak and is projected to unify his newly acquired interim belt with the current 145lbs champion, Jose Aldo, sometime in 2017.

Not only were fans treated to a featherweight title fight, MMA aficionados were also indulged by witnessing what is certainly to be the front-running candidate for “Fight of the Year.”

The two men who were involved in the contest also happen to be in the 145lbs division.

“Killer” Cub Swanson (24-7) beat “The Korean Superboy” Doo-ho Choi (15-2) by a unanimous judges’ decision in an unbelievable back-and-forth brawl.

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Both men showcased incredible toughness, endurance and determination in what elicited the loudest cheers and heartfelt reactions from the spectators in attendance.

UFC 206’s first finish came early in the night and just might have been 2016’s best knockout.

Twenty-four-year-old “Groovy” Lando Vannata (9-1) scored a spectacular spinning wheel kick knockout over Montreal’s own John “The Bull” Makdessi (14-6). The incredible technique shut the Canadian’s lights out before he even hit the mat.

Other notable moments included welterweight (170 lbs) Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (32-7-1) head-kicking Matt “The Immortal” Brown (20-16) unconscious thirty seconds into the third round of their contest.

Also, light heavyweight (205lbs) hometown Latvian Mikhail “Misha” Cirkunov (13-2) scored a first round submission via guillotine choke over fellow prospect Nikita “Al Capone” Krylov (21-5) after dropping him to the mat with a big left hand to the chin.

Overall, the sold-out crowd of 18,057 made their voices heard in appreciation of the superb efforts of athletic prowess on display. On a pay-per-view that lacked the draw of star power, the fighters assuredly made up for it with their unbelievable performances.

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