Max Holloway is not fighting for the title for the first time in five years. A win on Saturday should be enough to secure Holloway another shot to reclaim the featherweight belt.
The UFC is back in Abu Dhabi, as Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar will square off in a featherweight match in the main event of UFC Fight Island 7 on Saturday.
There is a lot on the line for both fighters, as a win would likely earn Holloway another title shot, while Kattar should jump into the top two or three of the featherweight rankings if he can take down Holloway. The former division champion, Holloway, is favoured on the MMA odds at -170 with Kattar at +130.
Max Holloway UFC Fight Island 7 Odds
For the first time in five years there is no belt on the line for No. 1 featherweight contender Max Holloway (21-6). After winning the interim UFC Featherweight Championship in 2016 and unifying the belt in 2017, Holloway defended the belt three times before losing it by unanimous decision to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245 at the end of 2019. The rematch at UFC 251, last July, was closer, but Holloway left with a split decision loss for his first two-fight skid in nearly a decade. There is a lot of incentive to win this fight for Holloway. A win likely puts him in line for the next title shot and a third crack at Volkanovski.
At just 29-years-old Holloway is already a legend of the sport. He has the advantage over Kattar in every striking statistic, averaging more significant strikes landed per minute (6.66 for Holloway, 5.29 for Kattar), less significant strikes absorbed per minute (4.45 for Holloway, 6.46 for Kattar) and a better striking defence (62 per cent for Holloway, 55 per cent for Kattar). Holloway is also more accurate in his grappling with an 83 per cent takedown accuracy (compared to 28 per cent for Kattar) and an 85 per cent takedown defence (compared to 77 per cent for Kattar). Look for Holloway to be focused and prepared, as all that stands between Holloway and another shot at the belt is Calvin Kattar.
Calvin Kattar UFC Fight Island 7 Odds
With four of his last five wins coming by KO, Kattar (22-4) is a power hitter with pure knockout ability. After a unanimous decision loss to Zabit Magomedshaipov in November 2019, Kattar has rebounded with a second round KO win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC 249, last May, and a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige in July. Half of Kattar’s professional wins have come by TKO/KO, but the former featherweight champion will be his biggest challenge yet.
Kattar holds a three-inch reach advantage over Holloway. He’ll likely rely on his greater power to do some early damage to his opponent before going for the knockout blows in the later rounds. Kattar is one of the rare power hitters who doesn’t seem to slow down as the fight goes on. His best shot to win this fight is to land big power combos to disrupt Holloway’s game plan.
UFC Fight Island Prediction: Holloway vs. Kattar
Holloway and Kattar are two very different strikers. Holloway relies on precision striking and skill, while Kattar is a power hitter with knockout ability in every strike. Holloway has never lost three fights in a row and Kattar likely won’t change that. Look for Holloway to patiently outwait his opponent and win by unanimous decision.