This event marks the first UFC event of the new year with UFC on ABC 1: Holloway V.S Kattar.
Both men have incredibly high stakes in this fight which could mark a turning point in both men’s careers.
With so much on the line, let’s break down this incredible fight.
Starting first with the former Featherweight Champion, Max Holloway is currently the slight betting favorite to win. Holloway is coming off of two straight defeats at the hands of the current Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski. Depending on who you ask, myself included, Holloway won one, if not both, fights. With both fights going to decision, and neither going for Holloway, it truly reinforces the notion that UFC president Dana White has held for years: don’t leave it to the judges.
Holloway is looking to bounce back and start his path towards winning back his Featherweight title. His first opponent will be rising star Calvin Kattar. This will not be an easy fight for Holloway by any means. Holloway is well known for his fighting style, which involves pushing the pace of the fight and beating his opponents with volume. While not generally heralded as a knockout artist, Holloway does absolutely possess the ability to finish the fight. Still, if we were to choose sides for this fight, Kattar would more likely be the one to look for a knockout.
Holloway’s plan of attack will more than likely be to stay on Kattar by eliminating the ability for Kattar to land that knockout blow by closing the distance. A prototype for Holloway’s plan would be reminiscent of the Colby Covington – Robbie Lawler fight in the summer of 2019. A fight where the more powerful Lawler truly had no opening to unleash that power on Covington.
What’s at stake for Holloway? Simply put: everything.
Holloway will need to string together a few wins to get back in the title picture. Simply winning one fight will not do it. This is a “prove it” fight for Holloway. Is he truly still the best Featherweight in the world that was screwed over by judging decisions? Or has Holloway begun to regress as a fighter? We will find out on Saturday.
Speaking of having everything on the line, Calvin Kattar is one of the fastest rising stars in the Featherweight division and is seeking his first shot at the Featherweight title. There is no better way to earn a title shot than to beat the last man to hold the title before the current champion.
Coming off of two big-time wins over fellow rising star Dan Ige and UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens, the latter of which was won via one of the most brutal elbows in UFC history, Kattar will look to make it three straight against Holloway this weekend.
As alluded to in the Holloway section, Kattar has legit knockout power. Now Max Holloway has taken his fair share of vicious strikes before, but Kattar absolutely possesses the ability to knock Holloway out. One thing to look out for in this fight is how Kattar decides to pace himself against the man who arguably has the best place in the division. In Kattar’s last two fights that went to decision, he beat Dan Ige unanimously and lost to Zabit Magomedsharipov unanimously. The takeaway from both of those is this: the Ige fight was a five-round fight, and the Zabit fight was only three rounds.
In the Zabit fight, Kattar only began to give Zabit real problems in the third round. That could absolutely be from Zabit taking his foot off of the gas pedal or that Kattar doesn’t truly “turn it on” until after the first round. Also, Ige is not (yet) seen as a potential top guy, whereas Zabit is already seen as such; he has just been inactive as of late. If Kattar lets Max get into a rhythm early, he may not be able to recover and reclaim the control of the fight.
An early prediction would be that the winner of the first round will win the fight, should it go to a decision.
Regardless of who wins, this main event battle will be an incredible way to kick off the new year and the UFC’s 2021 campaign.
Who do you think will win?
Featured Image: MMA Junkie