Max Holloway
Blessed
To fight for interim LW belt
FeatherweightUFC
February 23, 2019
Holloway will take on Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship at UFC 236 on April 13, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Holloway is the current featherweight champion that has essentially cleaned out the division, but speculation has long been active that a move up to 155 pounds would eventually be in the cards. That idea finally came to fruition Friday night when UFC President Dana White told ESPN that the UFC would be creating an interim title in the division where Khabib Nurmagomedov currently reigns as champion. With Nurmagomedov suspended until the fourth quarter of of 2019, the UFC will look to keep a division with so many elite contenders active. Holloway once tried to move up to take on Nurmagomedov, but the fight was short notice and he was unable to make the weight. Expect things to be different with a full fight camp this time around. Even though Holloway is moving up, he still holds a height advantage of two inches, while Poirier has the three-inch edge in reach. Both are high-volume strikers, but it's Holloway that holds the edge in both striking volume (6.90 significant strikes landed per minute) and striking differential (lands 2.87 significant strikes per minute more than he absorbs). Those figures are helped out by his most recent title defense against Brian Ortega in which he landed an astounding 290 significant strikes. Poirier has been a little more active in the takedown department, but Holloway sports the superior takedown defense. Nobody has yet to figure out how to outpoint Holloway on the feet, so Poirier might be wise to employ his wrestling in what projects to be a very close matchup.
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Dispatches Brian Ortega to retain UFC gold
FeatherweightUFC
December 8, 2018
Holloway successfully defended his UFC Featherweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Brian Ortega via TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 4 at UFC 231 in Toronto.
ANALYSIS
It's safe to say that Holloway is back and fully healthy. After 53 weeks on the sidelines, "Blessed" returned and dispatched his greatest challenger in perhaps his most masterful performance of all. Holloway obliterated Ortega to the tune of 254 total strikes landed on 454 attempts. 454 attempts in 20 mins worth of octagon time is an insane amount, but volume and placement is what has driven this 13-fight winning streak for the champ. Holloway also defended 13 of 15 takedown attempts from Ortega and he didn't let the BJJ master get any sort of control on the two successful tries. As commentator Jon Anik said after the fight was over, it is going to take a Herculean effort for someone at 145 pounds to take the belt from Holloway at this point. There has been talk of him moving up to lightweight at some point in the near future, but for now he seems content to dispatch all oncoming challengers at featherweight. He is one of the best in the world in any division. Furthermore, he'll take home well-deserved Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonuses for this tremendous effort.
Will defend featherweight title against Brian Ortega at UFC 231
FeatherweightUFC
October 1, 2018
Holloway will defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega at UFC 231 on December 8, Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reports.
ANALYSIS
Holloway and Ortega were scheduled to fight for the featherweight title back in July at UFC 226, but Holloway suffered a concussion and was forced to pull out of the fight. Holloway was cleared to compete at the end of August and was given an opportunity to compete for the lightweight belt against Khabib Nurmagomedov, but was unable to cut the weight on time for the short-notice fight. That aside, few fighters in the UFC are hotter than Holloway, who is currently riding a 12-fight win streak. Ortega will provide Holloway with a tough challenge, as he is undefeated as a professional with a record of 14-0. Holloway will enter with a big height advantage, and while he typically sports a reach advantage as well, that won't be the case here with both men checking in at 69 inches. While Holloway is a formidable grappler with a 83 percent takedown defense, he'll likely look to play to his strengths and keep this fight standing, as Ortega has been known to pull off sneaky, late submissions. Holloway does sport an impressive rate of 6.20 significant strikes per minute in the UFC, which typically makes him a quality fantasy play, especially if he can succeed in keeping this matchup on the feet.
Cleared to return
FeatherweightUFC
August 29, 2018
Holloway (concussion) announced that he has been cleared to compete Wednesday, Damon Martin of MMA Weekly reports.
ANALYSIS
Holloway was scheduled to defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega back in July at UFC 226, however was forced to pull out after suffering a pretty severe concussion that resulted in two different hospital visits. While there was some cause for concern, Holloway's clearing is a huge positive for the UFC. Rumors of Holloway and Ortega now meeting at UFC 231 in December have been circulating, however nothing has been finalized yet.
Out of UFC 226
FeatherweightUFC
July 4, 2018
Holloway is dealing with symptoms of a concussion and will not be able to fight at UFC 226 against Brian Ortega, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Holloway was admitted to the ER on Monday for a concussion but medical tests returned favorable results and he was allowed to head home. However, his team noticed lingering signs of the concussion and he was again admitted to the hospital Wednesday. With plans for a replacement fight having seemingly fallen through, look for this matchup of the promotion's elite featherweights to be rescheduled for a later date. The next pay-per-view card is set to take place Aug. 4 in Los Angeles, though that may not necessarily be enough time for Holloway to fully recover. A concussion of this severity can often require 30-45 days on the shelf, and California has one of the more conservative athletic commissions when it comes to allowing a potentially-injured fighter to compete. The more likely scenario for fight fans is the matchup getting rescheduled for October or November.
Next title defense booked
FeatherweightUFC
April 23, 2018
Holloway will defend his featherweight championship against Brian Ortega at UFC 226 on July 7 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Holloway was the UFC's first choice to replace Tony Ferguson in a lightweight title belt against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, but was robbed of an opportunity to become a two-division champion when the New York State Athletic Commission deemed him medically unfit to fight. Holloway doesn't typically have trouble with his weight cuts to 145, but was unable to make 155 pounds given the short notice. This time around, he'll be back to a normal fight camp for a matchup with one of the most dangerous featherweights on the roster. Holloway is riding a 12-fight winning streak, but Ortega is 27 years old and unbeaten as a professional (14-0, 1 NC). Holloway will be taller than Ortega when the two face off, like most of his opponents, but the reach will be identical at 69 inches. This shouldn't stop Holloway from his constant onslaught of volume striking, however, which always makes the Hawaiian a threat to rack up a high fantasy score. Though Ortega is just as hot heading into this fight, look for Holloway to open as the betting favorite.