UFC 300: Max Holloway gets the 'BMF' title shot with one of the fiercest knockouts in mixed martial arts history

Max Holloway didn't need to do that against Justin Gaethje. dont care. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zova LLC via Getty Images)

Max Holloway is BMF certified. And then some.

Former UFC featherweight champion defeated fan favorite Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 on Saturday, winning the promotion's ceremonial “BMF” belt in the coolest way possible. Seconds after the clear unanimous decision win, Holloway pointed to the middle of the octagon and urged Gaethje to go full speed toward the bell.

The result was not just the clear knockout of the year, but perhaps the most brutal knockout in the UFC's 31-year history.

Gaethje was left unconscious, face down on the mat as Holloway walked away with a primal scream. Even with two title fights, it was the highlight of a highly anticipated night and a defining moment in the career of what was already one of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history.

Holloway used the occasion to call not only a title fight against current featherweight champion Ilya Topuria, but lightweight champion Islam Makhachev as well.

“I'm him, guys! I'm him!” Holloway said. “The matador, he's running from the bull and running for his life. Time to sign the contract. Spain, Hawaii, anything. Even Islam. Islam is famous for defending against 45ers, right? I'm him. I'm here.”

“Any weight, I'm a wrestler. I don't care. Whatever's next, sign on the dotted line, let's get it.”

Holloway also called for a $600,000 reward for the effort. UFC president Dana White agreed, and it wasn't hard to understand why. The windfall increases Holloway's career bonus money to $1.15 million per Sportsnet's Aaron Brunstetter.

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Holloway has 13 career bonuses, six fewer than Charles Oliveira's UFC record of 19, but that massive number gives him the highest total bonus money of any fighter in the promotion's history.

“Well deserved,” White said. “It wasn't difficult at all.”

Max Holloway picked up the win, then went on to glory at UFC 300

Jumping up to lightweight for the second time in his career, the 32-year-old Holloway showed vintage form, outboxing Gaethje in every round while simply working at a different speed. Gaethje's nose was bleeding badly after the first round, and he was unable to keep up with the progress of the fight.

Holloway held a steady advantage throughout the first round, then ended it with an exclamation point. The former champion landed a spinning back heel directly on Gaethje's nose, sending him reeling as the bell rang. Gaethje spent most of the time between rounds touching his nose in discomfort, and a break seemed very possible.

The second round was an opportunity for Holloway against an injured opponent, and it ended up looking bad. Holloway forcefully stabbed Gaethje in the left eye, then hit him again minutes later with his thumb in the right eye. Fortunately, Gaethje is one of the last fighters on the UFC roster who will let a fight end with a poke of the eye, and he insisted on following through during both timeouts.

The blows kept coming from Holloway in the third round and most of the fourth. The UFC's all-time leader in big shots was putting on a clinic, until Gaethje dropped him out of nowhere and put him on his heels for most of the rest of the round.

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But Holloway survived. He had the decision in his pocket all throughout the fifth round, then decided to throw it to the wind, walking into a phone booth with one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the promotion.

It was pure, uncut MMA greatness, which delighted the audience and hurt Gaethje's consciousness.

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