Max Holloway and Andre Fili opened the UFC 172 pay-per-view, and the fight delivered more than expected.
Fili looked to have taken the first round, and Holloway rebounded in the second frame. It all came down to the third. It was a close round until Holloway began to tag Fili on the feet. He secured a guillotine choke and finished the fight.
This was a big win for Holloway. After the first PPV bout of the night, this is what we learned.
What We'll Remember About the Fight
Holloway's fight-ending guillotine was certainly the most memorable portion of the fight.
He set it up on the feet. His boxing has been a bright spot since his UFC debut. He can throw hands with the best in the division, and Fili was on the receiving end of quite a bit of punishment.
Holloway was able to finish the choke from top position as Fili grimaced during the tap.
What We Learned About Fili
Despite the hype, Fili still has a long way to go. We learned that he is still just a young prospect.
The 23-year-old has all the promise, but now it is down to him and his coaching staff to mold his skills into becoming a top-tier fighter. He is at Team Alpha Male. That is an elite camp where we should see him hone his skills moving forward.
What We Learned About Holloway
We learned that Holloway's bouts against quality competition have paid off.
He made his UFC debut against Dustin Poirier. Since that fight, he has also taken on Leonard Garcia, Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor. He has been battled-tested. This trial by fire has sharpened his skills.
His second straight victory was an impressive one, and it could mean bigger things on the horizon for one of the UFC's most consistently exciting fighters.
What's Next for Fili
Fili will hit the back of the bread line, and that is a good thing.
He is a young prospect with raw talent. The UFC should bring him along slowly. Chas Skelly would make for a nice opponent in his next UFC outing.
Skelly entered the UFC undefeated but lost at UFC on Fox 11 against Mirsad Bektic.
The bout against Skelly would be a low-pressure fight, likely on UFC Fight Pass. It would allow both men to enter the cage without too much of the spotlight and focus on honing their craft.
What's Next for Holloway
The featherweight division is packed with quality talent, and Holloway adds his name to that list with a second consecutive win.
He is not quite ready for Top 15-level competition, but he is close. That is why Rony Jason makes for a good opponent.
Jason is coming off a win against Steven Siler at UFC Fight Night 38. He loves to go out and put on a show. A bout against Holloway would give the fans a fight they could stand and cheer for while placing the winner near the back end of the Top 15 rankings.