UFC Fight Night 34 Bet: Max “Blessed” Holloway (-215) vs Will “The Kill” Chope (+195)

Max HollowayUFC Fight Night 34 Date: January 4, 2013 Arena: Marina Bay sands City: Marina Bay, Singapore. Featherweight bout: Max “Blessed” Holloway (-215) vs Will “The Kill” Chope (+195) Fight Breakdown: Wrapping things up for the preliminary portion of the evening will be a featherweight scrap between two of the lankiest warriors in the division, when Max “Blessed” Holloway takes on Will “The Kill” Chope. Holloway is the favorite in this contest at -215 ($215 to win $100), and Chope is the underdog at +195 ($100 to win $195) at Several Bookmakerss. MAX “BLESSED” HOLLOWAY (7-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) is on a two-fight skid and has his back against the wall as he flies to Singapore to face the tallest fighter he has yet to compete against in Will Chope. Holloway generally enjoys a height and reach advantage going into his match-ups, but the tables are turned for him this time around. It has been nearly five months since the Hawaiian last saw action, when he was outpointed and out-grappled by Irish prospect Conor McGregor at UFC Fight Night 26. That loss followed a very controversial split decision he dropped to Dennis Bermudez, a fight most spectators scored for Holloway. Even if he loses this fight, I think he will keep his job as long as he delivers a good performance. You can always count on that with Holloway; he always shows up to fight. He likes competing for the Fight of the Night bonus, and knows that his exciting style will always put his bouts in the running for it. Holloway is a very talented striker who moves tremendously well on the feet. His footwork is excellent, and he uses his range really well. He is good at moving in and out, and is generally a fantastic technical striker. He likes to put all of his limbs to good use, and puts together some great combinations. However, he is not much of a finisher, even though he scored a second round TKO over Justin Lawrence at UFC 150 in Denver, CO. While his striking is top notch, he does not seem to have any killer instinct. He stays patient and technical, and plays it safe. He is afraid to take risks, because he is worried he might get caught. That said, the 22-year old Hawaiian, like most Islanders, is very durable and has an incredible chin. Holloway’s submission game is decent and improving. He has great takedown defense, but when taken down, is active off his back, although not very effective. He was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu white belt when he first entered the Octagon two years ago, and I think he has earned his blue belt by now, though I cannot confirm. Holloway generally has good conditioning, so I expect him to have enough gas to make the distance against Chope. WILL “THE KILL” CHOPE (19-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will be making his promotional debut while riding an impressive 14 fight win streak. In fact, he went 14-0 in the same exact timespan Holloway went 3-3 inside the Octagon, starting in February of 2012 until today. Chope has had fourteen fights during that time, while Holloway has only had six. Chope was victorious in all 14 of his bouts, while Holloway was only successful in three of his, though he has faced tougher opposition than Chope has. “The Kill” is a monster at featherweight, standing at 6’4” and holding an incredible reach advantage over all of his opponents. However, it is worth noting that he has not yet learned how to use his reach to his full advantage, like a Jon Jones, per se. Chope is a Muay Thai striker who works the clinch really well. He loves applying the Thai plum clinch, and delivering devastating knees. The California native has not really faced any real stiff competition in his professional mixed martial arts career, and his Octagon debut against Holloway will be his toughest test to date. He works decent leg kicks, and likes to use his front kick. While he has not yet mastered his range, he is good at closing the distance and employing a dirty boxing attack. Chope works good takedowns, and can be relentless with them. He is very dangerous from the top position, as he likes to rain down heavy fists and elbows. He transitions well on the mat, and tends to find the finish soon after getting the mount. He attacks with fists, elbows, and all sorts of submissions. Chope’s takedown defense is not very good, but when taken down, he is good at getting back to his feet. He works a good submission game, as well, both offensively and defensively. “The Kill” is definitely a finisher, having finished 16 of his 19 professional mixed martial arts victories. Training out of Thailand, and Team Buffett in the Philippines, Chope is still very raw but is improving. He has good conditioning, and should have enough gas in his tank to go the distance against the Hawaiian. Fight Prediction: I see this fight playing out on the feet, and going all the way to the judges’ scorecards. Unless Chope has made serious improvements since his last bout, I expect Holloway to have the technical edge over him on the feet, even considering Chope’s reach advantage. Gabe’s Pick: Max Holloway by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 1.5 rounds (-220) 4.4u to win 2u, Holloway by Dec (+160) 1.5u to win 2.4u, and Chope by Dec (+520) .5u to win 2.6u

Written by Gabe Killian

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