MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ABC 1, a five-round featherweight bout between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar. The event takes place on Saturday, January 16 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Max Holloway (-155)
Holloway (21-6) is the No. 1 contender in the UFC featherweight division. The 29-year-old American made his promotional debut back in 2012, and since then he’s achieved an incredible 17-6 record inside the Octagon. Some of his most notable victories include Jose Aldo, Brian Ortega, Frankie Edgar, Anthony Pettis, and Charles Oliveira, to name a few. Holloway was the UFC featherweight champion between 2016 and 2019, before dropping his belt to current champ Alexander Volkanovski, and then losing a controversial split decision in the rematch. Despite having a two-fight losing skid, you still can’t say many negative things about Holloway. He’s still one of the best featherweights in the world and with his volume striking attack, he can beat anyone in the world on any given day. With a win here over Kattar, the UFC may just grant him the Volkanovski trilogy.
Calvin Kattar (+135)
Kattar (22-4) is the No. 6 ranked fighter in the UFC featherweight division. The 32-year-old American joined the UFC in 2017 and he’s gone 6-2 since then, with wins over Dan Ige, Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Chris Fishgold, Shane Burgos, and Andre Fili, with losses to Zabit Magomedsharipov and Renato Moicano. Kattar is known for his striking and they call him “The Boston Finisher” for his vicious KO power, which we saw on display against Stephens. In fact, he has four knockout wins in his six UFC victories. Kattar has been in tremendous form as of late and is looking to make a run for the belt in 2021. With a win over Holloway, he may just get his title shot.
Fight Breakdown: What a great way to kick off 2021 in the UFC as this is a great fight between two elite featherweights. I have a ton of respect for both Holloway and Kattar and the fact neither is the 145lbs champion right now speaks to the depth of the weight class. As far as this matchup goes, it’s certainly an interesting one. Both Holloway and Kattar are primarily strikers who prefer to use their hands to outbox their opponents, though Holloway is able to mix it up a bit more with his other strikes. Historically both men have preferred to sprawl and brawl and keep the fight standing, and both men have excellent takedown defense that allows them to dictate where their fight takes place. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either man shoot some takedowns in this fight and try to steal rounds, but in general, I believe this fight will primarily take place on the feet. Kattar actually has a slightly longer reach (72″ to 69″), but Holloway has the edge in significant strikes landed per minute (6.47 to 5.01) and I believe his striking volume is what is going to ultimately win him this fight. I believe this fight goes the five-round distance, and at the end of 25 minutes, I see Holloway winning a decision.
Prediction: Max Holloway (via decision)