December was a good month for the UFC’s featherweight division. Champion Max Holloway made his first successful title defense, Brian Ortega scored a slick submission in a televised main event, and Josh Emmett connected with a massive knockout in the co-headliner of a network-televised fight card. Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC), who defended his title with a third-round TKO of Jose Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) at UFC 218, said he liked what he saw out of the latter two, who are making a surge up the 145-pound rankings toward a crack at the gold. Ortega (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) remained undefeated in MMA when he tapped Cub Swanson with a tight choke in the UFC Fight Night 123, and Emmett (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) made a statement when he put the lights out on Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FOX 26. Both men beat opponents who have long been ranked in the top five, and Holloway said that’s a big deal. “I was impressed by the two wins by those guys – of course,” Holloway told MMAjunkie.
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