UFC 172 Fight Breakdown: Andre Fili (-150) vs. Max Holloway (+140)

Max Holloway The opening main card bout at UFC 172 is a three-round featherweight bout between Andre “Touchy” Fili and Max “Blessed” Holloway. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Fili as a -150 favorite (bet $150 to win $100) while Holloway is a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Fili at -140 and Holloway at +100, and there has since been modest action on the favorite Fili. I agree with the slight line movement in Fili’s favor and I’m picking him to win this fight. Here’s why. Fili (13-1) is an up-and-coming star in the UFC featherweight division. The 23-year-old Team Alpha Male member is so far 1-0 in the UFC, having smashed veteran Jeremy Larsen via vicious T/KO in his promotional debut at UFC 166 last October in a fight he took on short notice. That was a huge win for Fili’s confidence and I expect him to try and build off of it tonight against Holloway. A gifted striker who uses all of his limbs to cause damage to his opponents, Fili is also an underrated wrestler and has solid submission skills to go along with his terrific standup. Of his 13 career wins, 10 have come by way of T/KO or submission, which shows that “Touchy” is a finisher through and through. Basically undefeated in his young MMA career thus far — his lone loss came via injury TKO — Fili looks like a serious prospect at 145 pounds and if he can take out Holloway in his sophomore UFC bout, I expect matchmaker Sean Shelby to fasttrack this potential star up the ladder. Holloway (8-3) is only 22 years old yet is already a veteran of seven UFC bouts, having gone 4-3 overall in the world’s top MMAA promotion so far with wins over Will Chope, Justin Lawrence, Pat Schilling and Leonard Garcia and losses to Conor McGregor, Dennis Bermudez, and Dustin Poirier. A gifted striker out of Hawaii, Holloway seems to be getting better and better every time we see him. He uses his long limbs to keep his range very effectively and when he comes inside he has some of the best body shots in the division. He also has a terrific spinning back kick in his arsenal of strikes that keeps his opponents guessing. However, while he is excellent on the feet, Holloway’s wrestling and ground game is fairly poor and he’ll need to work on that if he ever wants to be a true contender at 145 pounds in the UFC. Still, he has some awesome striking and if he can keep his fights standing he’ll always have a chance of winning them. This should be an extremely exciting fight between two young bangers and I expect it to win the “Fight of the Night” award at UFC 172. Although I do expect a fairly competitive fight between these two featherweight studs, I believe Fili is going to be the one landing the harder, more damaging strikes over the course of three rounds and I expect him to get his hand raised by decision at the end of 15 minutes. I do like Fili here but I’m worried about the judging if it goes three rounds and that’s the only reason I can’t recommend going strong on him tonight. However, I do think he wins this fight and at a slightly-juiced price of -150 I can’t fault anyone for making a small play on him, perhaps as a straight bet or the first leg of a two-team parlay. Regardless of who gets their hand raised, though, I definitely expect an exciting fight between these two and thus I think there’s some value on the prop for this bout winning “Fight of the Night,” which is currently sitting at +300.

Written by Adam Martin.

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