Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Preview + Prediction

Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Preview + Prediction

Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Preview + Prediction

Sat, 16 Jan
UFC on ABC: Holloway vs. Kattar
Featherweight·Main event

Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Odds

 Point SpreadMoneylineTotal
Calvin Kattar
+130O 4½
-185
Max Holloway-160U 4½
-155
MyBookie OddsMyBookie Odds

The first event of the new year in UFC Fight Island 7 takes place Saturday night at the Etihad Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Headlining the event is an intriguing featherweight contest between former champion Max Holloway (21-6) and rising contender Calvin Kattar (22-4).

With that said, let’s preview what should be an exciting main event.

Blessed

Holloway is currently on just the second two-fight losing skid of his professional career. The former featherweight king lost his title to Alexander Volkanovski in a close unanimous decision defeat at UFC 245 back in December 2019. The pair would collide in a rematch at UFC 251 in July that saw Holloway make plenty of adjustments as well as drop Volkanovski in the first and second round.

However, Volkanovski would rally back in the remaining three rounds and ultimately win a razor-thin split decision. Despite the result, many observers as well as fighters and coaches felt Holloway did enough to regain his title.

“It doesn’t matter what I think, but the UFC, (media), the world, they can see – 80-90 percent of the world thinks I won, and that’s what matters to them and that’s what mattered to me,” Holloway said in an interview last month.

He will look to return to the win column against one of the best boxers in the division in Kattar.

The Boston Finisher

Kattar, meanwhile, will look to earn the biggest win of his career when he takes on Holloway. The New England native is currently on a two-fight winning streak in addition to winning four of his last five outings.

He started 2020 off by brutally finishing Jeremy Stephens at UFC 249 in May with a beautiful elbow before outpointing Dan Ige over five rounds in July.

Victory against Holloway to kick off the new year would all but guarantee Kattar getting the next crack at the featherweight championship.

The matchup

What makes this fight is intriguing is the fact that it’s almost guaranteed to be a striking contest for the most part. Holloway is known for his voluminous boxing — at least based on his last few fights — but he is also one of the most versatile and dangerous strikers overall, especially with his kicks and stance switching.

He notably used his kicks a lot more in his rematch with Volkanovski and it resulted in him dropping the champion in the first round after landing flush to the head. He does tend to start slow, however, which is something Volkanovski exploited in the first fight. That said, Holloway usually picks up the pace as the rounds go by while his opponent tires and eventually gets overwhelmed much like Brian Ortega.

Kattar is similar in that way, in that he also starts slow, but has shown that he not only has a gas tank but is durable as well, evidenced by him absorbing some big strikes from Jeremy Stephens that bloodied him up. Will he be able to withstand Holloway barrages later on in the fight? Or will he be able utilize his three-inch reach advantage to crack “Blessed” with a straight right?

One aspect of Kattar’s striking is that he predominantly uses his hands. After all, he is one of the best pure boxers in the sport and will more than likely have the power advantage against Holloway. However, that could also be to his detriment because he relies on his hands too much. As Renato Moicano exploited back in 2018, constant leg kicks can easily hinder Kattar’s offense and Holloway notably landed 31 leg strikes against Volkanovski in their rematch.

It would also be very surprising if we saw any grappling or wrestling in this fight, but one would assume Holloway trumps Kattar in all those areas in addition to clinch work. It certainly wouldn’t hurt the Hawaiian if he proactively looked to utilize those aspects of his game to test Kattar.

Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Prediction:

One can expect both fighters to start slow and feel each other out as they look to eventually impose their wills on each other.

Holloway improves as the fight goes and tends to increase his strike output with every round as well so it’s imperative that Kattar not only has a good start, but is able to connect on Holloway and get him to respect his power much like Dustin Poirier did.

And since Kattar, too, increases his output as the fight goes on, we can also expect some really high-level and entertaining mid to late rounds. Both fighters have chins as well and have never been knocked out in their careers so don’t expect an early finish.

That said, Holloway is the slight betting favorite and that isn’t a surprise given his overall experience and striking ability. We can see him getting a unanimous decision victory to return to the win column.
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