UFC 300: Max Holloway takes 'BMF' title with one of the worst KOs in MMA history

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

Max Holloway is a certified BMF. And then some.

The former UFC featherweight champion defeated fan favorite Justin Gaithje at UFC 300 on Saturday to win the promotion's ceremonial “BMF” belt as much as possible. In the seconds of a clear unanimous decision victory, Holloway pointed to the center of the Octagon and prompted Cathje to go full throttle to the buzzer.

The result was not only the clearest knockout of the year, but possibly the worst knockout in the UFC's 31-year history.

Keithje fainted, face down on the mat as Holloway pulled away with a primal scream. Even with two title fights on the docket, this was the clear highlight of a highly anticipated night and a career-defining moment for what is already one of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history.

Holloway used the opportunity not only for a title fight against incumbent featherweight Ilya Topuria, but also against lightweight Islam Makache.

“I'm him, guys! I'm him!” Holloway said. “El Matador, running away from the bull and running for his life. Time to sign the contract. Spain, Hawaii, whatever. Islam is famous for defending against 45 fighters, right? Me. Me. Right here.”

“Anyway, I'm a gladiator. I don't care. Who's next, sign on the dotted line and we'll get it.”

Holloway called for a $600,000 bonus for the effort. UFC President Dana White obliged, and it's not hard to understand why. The sudden drop brought Holloway's career bonus to $1.15 million Aaron Bronstetter of Sportsnet.

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Holloway has 13 career bonuses, six short of Charles Oliveira's UFC-record 19, but that enormous number gives him the most total bonus money of any fighter in the promotion's history.

“Well deserved,” said White. “It's not hard at all.”

Max Holloway won and then took pride of place at UFC 300

The 32-year-old Holloway made the jump to lightweight for the second time in his career, outpacing Cathje in each round while running at a different pace. Keithje's nose was bleeding after the first round and he was unable to continue as the fight progressed.

Holloway held a steady advantage throughout the first round, then ended it with an exclamation point. The former dropped a spinning backheel directly into Keithje's nose and staggered him as the bell rang. Keithje spent so much time between rounds touching his nose in discomfort that a break was very likely.

The second round was Holloway's chance against an injured opponent, and a poor look. Holloway punched Gaithje hard in the left eye, then got him back moments later with a thumb in the right eye. Fortunately, Keithje is one of the last fighters on the UFC roster who would allow a fight to end in an eye poke, and he insisted on continuing through both deadlines.

Victories followed from Holloway in the third and fourth rounds. The UFC's all-time leader in notable strikes was in a clinic until Keithje out of nowhere and kept him on his heels for the rest of the round.

Holloway survived, however. In the fifth round he had the decision in his pocket and then decided to throw it in the air, getting into a phone booth with one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the promotion.

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It's pure, uncut MMA greatness, crowd-pleasing and to the detriment of Cathje's sentiment.

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