Max Holloway KO’s Justin Gaethje in Final Second of UFC 300’s BMF Fight, In Electrifying Moment

Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway, UFC 300
Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway, UFC 300 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

The people’s main event. The BMF title fight. An all-violence classic. The odds-on favorite for Fight of the Night. There were a lot of ways to look at Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway at UFC 300, but chances are, you would be looking at it.

Gaethje vs. Holloway arrived with all the grace of a car crash at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night, with Gaethje firing his left hook early. Holloway stayed mobile, pumping his left hand to maintain some distance. About two minutes in, it was Holloway doing some damage to the king of damage in Gaethje, landing a left that hurt Justin.

Max fired a right hand to the body, and early on appeared to be having a decent amount of success against the BMF champ. A right hand backed Justin up; he fired back a moment later, also landing and forcing “Blessed” to retreat himself.

Right at the buzzer, Holloway landed a spinning back kick that sent Justin Gaethje reeling as it bounced off the nose to the body — potentially breaking Gaethje’s nose.

Holloway started round two mixing kicks to the leg and body with a right hand to the body. Justin fired back with a low kick. Another attack by Holloway had Gaethje wincing from a nasty eye poke. He was able to continue barely a minute later, but the maladies were adding up. “The Highlight” had a steady stream of blood leaking out his nose, leaving  a trail down his chest. Still, Justin trailed an overhand with a kick, showing he was still in it. A moment later, another eye poke landed. This time, it was Holloway’s thumb in the opposite eye.

Gaethje was again able to continue, with the ref warning Holloway. They’d go back-and-forth to end the frame.

Down two rounds, Gaethje upped his kicking game to open the third. It was Holloway, however, cracking the BMF with a right hand! Another combo from Max, and Gaethje looked wobbled. Justin then nearly ducked into a spinning back kick again, and pulled up just in time.

Headed to the championship rounds there was a good chance Justin Gaethje was down three rounds, though his corner advised him the prior rounds were “close.” Holloway, however, looked as fresh as ever, despite the damage Justin had done to his legs. Gaethje turned up the heat, landing on Max but Holloway blasted his opponent in response, then ripped a combo to the body and head that hurt Justin. Another followed. Gaethje found his own openings but his nose was a mess and the jab of Holloway splitting the guard and touching it up further wasn’t helping.

Near the final minute, Gaethje rocked Holloway, briefly dropping him— the first time Max had ever been dropped! Holloway was straight back to his feet, however. Max had slowed, just a touch perhaps, and Gaethje connected with a right flush to the side of the head before the horn.

One final round, and the fight had turned into what fans had expected when it was first announced, despite the early fouls. Max Holloway fired his spinning kick again early, a money shot for him throughout the bout. Holloway then rocked Justin! Gaethje covered up as Holloway unleashed about five punches, fired one back, and somehow survived. Another spinning kick landed for Max, barely. Holloway was flowing. A left landed for Gaethje. Max was showing his creative self, and then the final minute came.

What a minute it was. Gaethje went on the attack, even trying a cartwheel kick. Then, despite being well ahead on the scorecards, Holloway pointed to the ground with 15 or so seconds to go. Justin accepted, and they began throwing with wild abandon. It was Max Holloway connecting when it mattered, barely two seconds left, putting Gaethje down face first with a right hand!! Incredible, last-second finish by Max Holloway to claim the BMF title in a style true to why the belt exists in the first place.

Official Result: Max Holloway def. Justin Gaethje by KO, Round 5, 4:59