Before Max Holloway makes the first defense of his UFC featherweight title, watch him score a blistering knockout against Akira Corassani at UFC Fight Night 53 back in 2014.
Holloway was 23-years-old at the time and already held a record of 10-3 going in to this bout. He was known at the time as an exciting finisher with a ton of potential given his extremely young age. His poise in tense situations coupled with his killer instinct garnered him fans in his first few UFC fights.
After a late-notice UFC debut against Dustin Porter at UFC 143 two years prior, Holloway racked up three straight victories. Holloway went on to build his reputation with big fights opposite Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor, the latter of which was the featured prelim for the UFC Fight Night event in Boston. Holloway lost both of those bouts but became a must-watch fighter in the division.
His next three bouts were finishes. A submission victory over Andre Fili at UFC 172 was bookended by two TKO wins that helped Holloway break free from the other contenders in the division, proving that he was an elite competitor.
Holloway’s momentum was in full motion headed in to his bout with Corassani and he showcased the vast improvements that he was making in his busy UFC career. Just past the halfway point of round 1, Holloway dropped Corassani with the same combination that he would later use to win the belt from Jose Aldo at UFC 212.
Corassani hits the mat hard and Holloway goes on to create a highlight reel moment and what was frankly a pretty brutal scene.
He would go on to win the next seven bouts against the likes of Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens, and Cub Swanson.
Holloway will next compete in a rematch with former champion, Jose Aldo, in the main event of UFC 218.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/28/2017.