Holloway stops Aldo to become UFC featherweight champion

It went three rounds before the referee stepped in

Holloway stops Aldo to become UFC featherweight champion

Max Holloway and Jose Aldo. Picture by: Leo Correa/AP/Press Association Images

Max Holloway is the UFC featherweight champion after he stopped Jose Aldo in Rio de Janeiro in the third round.

The Hawaiian went to Brazil in an attempt to unify his interim title with Aldo's belt and now becomes the unified champion at 145 lbs.

The Brazilian controlled the bout from the off and was ahead on all three scorecards going into the third round. 

The challenger needed to pick up the pace and duly delivered. A straight right-hand shot dropped Aldo and Holloway jumped on his downed opponent. 

The Hawaiian controlled Aldo with strikes and attempted a choke before he transitioned to full mount to force a referee's stoppage. 

The bout earned "Fight of the Night" honours and both will receive an extra $50,000 for their efforts.

In the co-main event, top women's strawweight contenders Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz faced off.

Gadelha secured the win with a rear-naked choke in the first round and will probably earn a title shot with the victory. 

Elsewhere, home favourite Vitor Belfort beat Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision while both Paolo Borrachinha and Yancy Meideros secured second round TKO wins over Oluwale Bamgbose and Erick Silva respectively.