Max Holloway scored a knockout over Anthony Pettis 4:50 into the third round for the interim featherweight championship at UFC 206 on Saturday. It was the first time a UFC belt was on the line for just one fighter. It became an interim featherweight title bout for Holloway when Pettis failed to make weight on Friday, coming in 3 pounds over the 145-pound limit. Pettis was fined 20 percent of his purse as a result.
During his post-fight interview in the octagon, Pettis said he broke his right hand with his first punch in the first round. Earlier, Cub Swanson won a unanimous decision over South Korea’s Dooho Choi (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) in an entertaining featherweight bout.
Emil Meek got the main card started by defeating Canada’s Jordan Mein by unanimous decision (29-28) in his UFC debut. Toronto’s Misha Cirkunov forced Nikita Krylov to tap out at 4:38 of the first round with a guillotine choke. Cirkunov improved to 4-0 in UFC and moved into the top 10 at the light heavyweight level.
“I definitely belong in the top 10,” Cirkunov said. “I’m on an eight-fight win streak since I dropped my coach.” Olivier Aubin-Mercier was the first Canadian to emerge victorious, defeating Drew Dober in a lightweight bout. The Montreal native forced Dober into submission with rear-naked choke, causing the referee to stop the fight at 2:57 of the second round.
In her UFC debut, Viviane Pereira beat Valerie Letourneau by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in the lone women’s strawweight bout on the card. Letourneau, who fell to 3-3 in UFC, was initially supposed to fight Poliana Botelho, but the Brazilian was dropped from the card in October.
Rustam Khabilov beat Jason Saggo by unanimous decision, 30-27, in the first of two lightweight bouts on the evening. John Makdessi didn’t fare much better in the second lightweight bout, getting knocked out by a spinning heel kick to the chin from Lando Vannata. In a bantamweight bout, Mitch Gagnon fell to Matthew Lopez in a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27).