MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at one of three championship fights set for UFC 245, a five-round UFC featherweight title fight between champion Max Holloway and challenger Alexander Volkanovski. The event takes place on Saturday, December 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Max Holloway (-175)
Holloway (21-4) is the UFC featherweight champion. The 28-year-old Hawaiian is 17-4 overall in the UFC is currently riding a 14-fight win streak at 145lbs. Some of his notable victories include two wins over Jose Aldo, plus wins over Anthony Pettis, Brian Ortega, Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson, and Jeremy Stephens. His UFC losses came twice to Dustin Poirier at lightweight and then featherweight losses to Conor McGregor and Dennis Bermudez. Holloway is an exceptionally talented fighter and has proven over the years that he’s one of the best featherweights ever. His striking is his bread-and-butter and on the feet, he’s able to piece his opponents apart and batter them until they can’t continue. His grappling skills have also improved over the years, with strong takedown defense and an underrated submission game. He also has an incredible chin, an endless gas tank, and tons of championship experience. Holloway’s experiment of moving up to lightweight didn’t work out so well for him, but at featherweight, he’s the king of the jungle. With a win over Volkanovski, he’ll get one step closer to nearly cleaning out one of the UFC’s deepest weight classes.
Alexander Volkanovski (+155)
Volkanovski (20-1) is the top contender in the UFC featherweight division. The 31-year-old Australia is currently riding a 17-fight win streak and hasn’t lost since 2013. In the UFC he’s a perfect 7-0 with notable wins over Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, among others. Volkanovski has been extremely impressive to watch in the UFC so far. He is a very strong grappler and on the feet, he has shown the ability to knock his opponents out. His cardio and pace are also very strong and he’s shown a durable chin as well. The one thing about Volkanovski that we don’t know if how his gas tank will hold up in a five-round fight. He’s been able to go three strong multiple times, but five rounds is another story. Based on what we’ve seen so far he should be good for 25 minutes, but until we see it that’s just an educated guess.
Fight Breakdown: Volkanovski earned this title shot with a string of impressive wins in the UFC, but the one thing he didn’t do during his victories is to go a full five rounds. There’s a big difference between a 15-minute fight and a 25-minute fight, and Holloway is the king of the five rounders. While I expect Volkanovski to come out strong and push a hard pace in the first few rounds, eventually I believe he will tire out and Holloway will take over. Holloway does his best work in the later rounds and eventually, I expect the champ to start landing strikes at long range and really batter Volkanovski on the feet en route to a decision victory.
Prediction: Max Holloway wins via decision