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The UFC returned to pay-per-view with a five fight main card headlined by a featherweight title bout as champion Max Holloway defended against Jose Aldo, while the co-main event spot was filled by a major heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan

Kicking off a stacked main card, Michelle Waterson(14-5, #8WSW) took on Tecia Torres(9-1, #5WSW) in the women’s strawweight division

A bout that went all three rounds, the majority of the action took place on the feet with Torres being very aggressive with her striking and getting the better of the exchanges across the whole fifteen minutes, the fifth-ranked fighter also got the better of the grappling exchanges and almost finished Waterson due to unanswered striking on the ground however Waterson hung on as the fight went the distance with Torres bagging the win via unanimous decision

Ultimate Fighter coaches collided next, as Justin Gaethje(18-0, #5LW) took on Eddie Alvarez(28-5-1NC, #4LW) in the lightweight division, with the winner taking a big step towards 155lbs title contention

Both fighters were aggressive in the first round, Gaethje in particular as he landed multiple brutal leg kicks that took their tolls on the left leg of Alvarez, however Alvarez was able to land numerous punches to the body of Gaethje that slowed him

It was more of the same in the second round, with the two preferring to stand and exchange strikes with neither able to land that one clean shot though Alvarez was able to continue to land punches to the body with Gaethje still landing hard leg kicks as the bout moved into the third and final round

Continuing the striking war in the final round, both fighters sustained brutal damage as the final five minutes progressed, Alvarez in particular took heavy damage to his left leg in addition to a massive swollen right check, while Gaethje took numerous punches to the face in an even back-and-forth fight, however at 3:59 of the round
Alvarez landed a knee to the head in the clinch that dropped Gaethje after which the referee stepped in and stopped the bout with Alvarez getting the win via TKO

Focus then shifted to the flyweight division with a fight between two top-five-ranked fighters, as Sergio Pettis(16-2, #4FW) faced former title-challenger Henry Cejudo(11-2, #2FW)

Going all three rounds, as expected for a wrestling Olympic gold medallist, Cejudo got the better of the grappling exchanges across the fifteen minutes and was able to shut down Pettis’ striking game via securing the takedowns however Cejudo wasn’t able to do much damage at all once on the ground with Pettis content to just be defensive whilst on his back

After a disappointing and somewhat uneventful fifteen minutes all three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Cejudo who picked up the unanimous decision victory

The co-main event promised striking fireworks as world-class kick-boxer Alistair Overeem(43-15-1NC, #1HW) and fast-rising Francis Ngannou(10-1, #HW) faced off in a heavyweight contest, with the winner taking a giant step towards a championship opportunity next time out

Living up the hype, after a few minutes of no action while clinching against the fence and being separated and restarted, Ngannou landed the most brutal left hook possible which landed clean and knocked Overeem out cold with a stiffened body at 1:42 of the first round

A featherweight title fight capped of UFC 218, with reigning champion American Max Holloway(18-3) defending his title against Brazilian Jose Aldo(26-3, #1FW)

Holloway was able to put on a thoroughly dominate performance, getting the better of the striking game throughout the first round and second rounds as Aldo couldn’t close the gap and counter the reach advantage, and in round three the inevitable happened as after dropping a heavily-bloodied Aldo with strikes Holloway was able to land numerous ground and pound punches before the referee stepped in and waved the fight off at 4:51 as Holloway retained his UFC featherweight championship

By Matthew Singh-Dosanjh