UFC 300: Max Holloway takes 'BMF' title with one of the wildest KOs in MMA history

Max Holloway is a certified BMF. And then some.

The former UFC featherweight champion defeated fan favorite Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 on Saturday, winning the promotion's ceremonial "BMF" belt in the wildest fashion possible. Seconds from a clear unanimous decision win, Holloway pointed to the center of the Octagon and goaded Gaethje to go full throttle to the buzzer.

The result was not just the clear Knockout of the Year, but perhaps the wildest knockout in the 31-year history of the UFC.

Gaethje was left unconscious, face down on the mat as Holloway walked away with a primal scream. Even with two title fights on the docket, it was the clear highlight of the highly anticipated night and a career-defining moment for what was already one of the most accomplished fighters in UFC history.

Holloway used the occasion to call for not just a title fight against current featherweight kind Ilia Topuria, but lightweight champ Islam Makhachev as well.

"I’m him, guys! I’m him!" Holloway said. "El Matador, he is running away from the bull and running for his life. Time to sign the contract. Spain, Hawaii, whatever. Even Islam. Islam is famous for defending against 45ers, right? I’m him. I’m right here."

"Any weight, I’m a gladiator. I don’t care. Whoever’s next, sign on the dotted line, let’s get it."

Holloway also called to receive a $600,000 bonus for the effort. UFC president Dana White obliged, and it wasn't hard to understand why. The windfall ups Holloway's career bonus money earned to $1.15 million, per Sportsnet's Aaron Bronsteter.

Holloway has 13 career bonuses, six short of Charles Oliveira's UFC-record 19, but that enormous figure gives him the highest total bonus money of any fighter in the promotion's history.

"Well deserved," White said. "It wasn't difficult at all."

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 13: Max Holloway reacts to the knockout of Justin Gaethje in the BMF championship fight during the UFC 300 event at T-Mobile Arena on April 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Max Holloway didn't need to do this against Justin Gaethje. He didn't care. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Max Holloway had the win, then went for glory at UFC 300

Making a jump to lightweight for the second time of his career, the 32-year-old Holloway displayed some vintage form, outstriking Gaethje in every round while simply operating at a different speed. Gaethje's nose was bleeding hard after the first round, and he just couldn't keep up as the fight progressed.

Holloway held a steady advantage throughout the first round, then finished it with an exclamation point. The former champ landed a spinning backheel directly to Gaethje's nose, sending him reeling as the bell sounded. Gaethje spent much of the time between rounds touching his nose in discomfort, with a break looking very possible.

The second round was an opportunity for Holloway against an injured opponent, and wound up being a bad look. Holloway poked Gaethje hard in the left eye, then got him again minutes later with a thumb to the right eye. Fortunately, Gaethje is one of the last fighters on the UFC roster who would let a fight end on an eye poke, and he insisted on proceeding during both timeouts.

The hits just kept coming from Holloway in the third round, and most of the fourth. The UFC's all-time leader in significant strikes was putting on a clinic, up until Gaethje dropped him out of nowhere and put him on his heels for much of the rest of the round.

Holloway survived, though. He had the decision win in his pocket thoughout the fifth round, then decided to throw it to the wind, stepping into a phone booth with one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the promotion.

It was pure, uncut MMA greatness, to the delight of the crowd and the detriment to Gaethje's consciousness.