Kamaru Usman claims eye pokes ‘altered the outcome’ of Max Holloway’s KO win at UFC 300

By Curtis Calhoun - April 17, 2024

Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman feels Max Holloway’s two accidental eye pokes against Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 should be getting more post-fight discussion.

Kamaru Usman, Justin Gaethje

Holloway defeated Gaethje by knockout with one second left in their instant classic at UFC 300. He captured the BMF title and earned his first UFC lightweight victory against one of the top stars in the division.

Holloway’s knockout continues to be one of the most trending topics on the internet in the days after the fight. Gaethje, who earned the BMF title at UFC 291, is a top teammate of Usman’s in Colorado.

While Holloway vs. Gaethje lived up to the immense hype, it didn’t play out without some controversy. The fight was paused twice after Holloway poked both of Gaethje’s eyes during matchup’s exchanges.

Usman feels that the eye pokes might’ve impacted how Holloway’s win played out.

Kamaru Usman accuses Max Holloway of fight-altering eye pokes at UFC 300

During a recent episode of the Pound 4 Pound podcast, Usman explained how two accidental eye pokes by Holloway might’ve impacted the fight.

“We can’t shy away from the fact that this man took the kick to the nose,” Usman said. “Was it the end of the first round, just seconds left or if not zero time left, took that kick to the nose, which plays a huge, huge part in potentially moving on in the fight because now you can’t breathe the way you want to breathe in that fight.

“And on top of that, we have to see the two eye pokes. I mean, they were clear-cut legit eye pokes, and it wasn’t that Max was doing it maliciously or on purpose. They happened. These are the type of things that can alter the outcome of a fight.”

The eye pokes by Holloway happened just hours after the UFC announced new gloves for fighters. The roster will be able to use the gloves as the year plays out.

Gaethje appeared gracious in defeat in the aftermath of UFC 300 and didn’t make any excuses for his performance. The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak, including a head-kick knockout of Dustin Poirier last July.

Holloway doesn’t have a significant history of eye pokes during his UFC tenure, but they’ve become a hot-button topic in recent years. Chris Weidman’s eye pokes against Bruno Silva led to his knockout win being reversed to a technical decision, and Silva is appealing the bout.

Usman’s stance could be motivated by his strong bond as teammates with Gaethje, although it’s clear that he feels that Holloway still deserves credit for his performance.


This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Justin Gaethje Kamaru Usman Max Holloway UFC