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UFC 300: Max Holloway's last-second KO of Justin Gaethje the lasting memory as Alex Pereira shows his class

Max Holloway gave the star performance with a knockout for the ages in his BMF title belt fight with Justin Gaethje; Holloway was on his way to winning the fight when he stunned Gaethje in the final moments with a combination of punches

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Max Holloway was in buoyant mood following his dramatic victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 300

Alex Pereira left no doubt he was the true light-heavyweight champion in the main event of UFC 300, knocking out Jamahal Hill in the first round on Saturday night.

But the lasting image of UFC 300, one that likely will resonate for years to come, was Max Holloway's last-second knockout of Justin Gaethje for the ceremonial BMF title belt.

Holloway-Gaethje was arguably the most anticipated fight on the loaded card, and it not only lived up to expectations, but surpassed them before a sellout crowd of 20,067 that roared over the final seconds and its stunning conclusion.

"That fight sucked the life out of everybody tonight," UFC president Dana White said. "People ask me what I do. I sell holy [stuff] moments. That was the ultimate holy [stuff] moment. Let's just talk about his fight for the rest of the press conference."

Max Holloway knocked out Justin Gaethje in spectacular fashion in the dying moments of the fight
Image: Holloway knocked out Gaethje in spectacular fashion in the dying moments of the fight

The UFC, which had its third-highest gate at $16.5m, awarded Holloway a $600,000 bonus for his performance.

Even though Holloway (26-7) was well on his way to a victory by decision, two judges had him ahead 39-37, the former featherweight champion could have run out the clock.

He instead pointed to the floor in the final seconds and then traded blows with Gaethje (25-5). It was a tremendous combination of punches from both fighters before the one that sent the now ex-BMF champ to the mat with just one second remaining in the five-round fight.

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"This is the moment," Holloway said about going for the KO. "This is what the BMF is known for. If that's not a BMF moment, I don't know what is. If Justin was up, he would've given me those 10 seconds."

Holloway, who also used a spinning kick at the end of the first round to bloody Gaethje's nose, was in control throughout most of the fight.

"I think it broke his nose. ... Any less of a man couldn't do what Justin Gaethje does," Holloway said.

In the evening's final fight, Pereira dropped Hill to the canvas with a straight left hand and then pounded him. Referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight, giving the Brazilian the victory.

UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira showed why he is still the man to beat in the octagon
Image: UFC light-heavyweight champion Alex Pereira showed why he is still the man to beat in the Octagon

"I see myself as the champion. I didn't want to let the belt go to my head," Pereira said through an interpreter. "I had to step in and win the championship."

Hill, 32, was the previous title holder, but a torn Achilles tendon forced him to vacate the championship last July. That put the belt in Pereira's hands, eventually setting up this match-up and his fourth pay-per-view event in 16 months.

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