Max Holloway is a bad man.
Last night, at UFC’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, the former UFC featherweight champion put on a striking masterclass against Calvin Kattar.
Holloway’s (22-6), opus at Etihad Arena on Yas Island led to a unanimous decision win over Kattar (22-5) and a few key takeaways.
Holloway’s confidence as a striker never felt more pure.
Using an almost nonchalant yet accurate approach to head movement, Holloway made the feared striker ultimately look neutered.
Holloway’s dexterity and nimble footwork coupled with lightning-fast combinations and consistency, cemented the performance as one of the greatest in UFC history.
Ironically, the performance yielded little financial gains. Holloway earned $20,000 and his opponent Kattar earned $5,000.
Immediately, the comparisons to Muhammad Ali, although premature, were made. Holloway showcased his ability to apply pressure and utilize the first rule of boxing for MMA, hit without being hit.
Criticized for his lack of heavy sparring and what is perceived to be a slackers training regime, Holloway contended that his method prepares him for the long haul of MMA self-preservation.
Now, Holloway is looking for a third stanza against current UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski.
Volkanovski has a fight scheduled against Brian Ortega next but Dana White assured that Holloway’s performance places him next up.
“I think we have to (give Holloway a third shot),” White said at the post-fight news conference. “I think we have to. I mean, when you’re the champion, you have the top five guys in the world gunning at you. When you’re the No. 1 contender in the world, you’ve got the top 10 guys in the world. Sometimes, No. 8 is more dangerous than No. 3.
Holloway taunted his opponent as he slid even further into his groove. At one point during the fight he declared to the commentary table and his opponent that he is the best boxer in the UFC.
“Tonight, he fought a bad dude that a lot of people thought was going to beat him. He went out and treated him like No. 6, so he did what he needed to do in spectacular fashion tonight. I think that he deserves to fight Volkanovski again.
“Listen, (Volkanovski) he’s got this Ortega fight coming up,” White said. “I think for a guy like him to watch this fight tonight when he’s the No. 1 contender – and like I said to you guys tonight, a lot of people whom I respect thought Calvin Kattar was going to win this fight tonight – the way that he looked, Volkanovski can’t even deny Max deserves another shot.”