26-Year-Old UFC Featherweight 19-3-0
April 23, 2018 Max Holloway News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Holloway will defend his featherweight championship against Brian Ortega at UFC 226 on July 7 in Las Vegas.
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.
Max Holloway: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway took this fight on six day's notice, so there was always a risk of problems with his weight cut, even though he's moving up a weight class. Rumblings from his team imply that he wanted to keep pushing the cut, and was even close to hitting his mark, but doctors eventually put a stop to it. The event will move on with just nine fights, potentially featuring a women's strawweight title clash between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the main event.
Fantasy AnalysisThe Khabib vs. Ferguson matchup appears to be permanently cursed after getting cancelled for the fourth time, but fortunately for fight fans, Holloway will step in to save the day. Holloway currently holds the title in the 145-pound division, and could be the first two-division champion since Conor McGregor if he's able to pull off the victory. Holloway is a large featherweight, so he won't concede a tremendous size disadvantage to Nurmagomedov, nor will he have to endure such a brutal weight cut. Holloway had also been dealing with a minor ankle injury leading up to this fight (the same one that forced his withdrawal from UFC 222), but this opportunity was simply too good to pass up. With a career 80 percent takedown defense, Holloway is a respectable wrestler, though his strengths lie in using his long limbs to produce diverse striking. Khabib has arguably never faced a striker of Holloway's caliber, but if Nurmagomedov is able to put Holloway on his back early, the Hawaiian champion could be in for a long night.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway is hopeful for a return to fighting "soon," but fell short of providing a definitive timetable. It was the first time details on the withdrawal have emerged since the February announcement, with Holloway confirming that the injury was suffered in training. He claims it was due more to an unfortunate position than any type of lingering health concern. The featherweight champion is currently treating the injury with physical therapy, but there is a limited window on that, and if it is not successful the team would turn to surgery. All reports indicate that the rehab approach is going well, so it would be logical to guess Holloway will defend his title at some point in mid-2018, potentially as early as UFC 226 in July.
Fantasy AnalysisUnfortunately, a Holloway-Edgar title fight will fall through the cracks for a second time in the past few months due to an injury. Previously, Edgar was forced to withdraw due to a facial injury, and although there haven't been any specifics regarding Holloway's ailment, the UFC has already started looking into moving another fight on the Las Vegas card into the main event slot.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway currently holds the featherweight belt (145 pounds), and is scheduled to defend that title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 in March. He's the early betting favorite (-325), and should he come out on top, it would be his 13th consecutive victory. His success at 145 would suggest an eventual move up, especially if the list of potential opponents runs dry, but it seems like that move could eventually be forced upon him depending on the landscape of weight cutting regulations in 2018. Though Holloway has never missed weight for a fight, he is incredibly lengthy for a 145-pounder, standing at 5-foot-11 and registering a 69-inch reach. In present day, California is the only state to adopt weight cutting regulations that have actually forced fighters to move up because of a significant difference between their weigh-in mark and weight on fight night. For now, those rules only apply in the state of California, and likely won't be a major issue for Holloway unless nationwide regulations via an organization such as USADA are adopted.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway was originally supposed to defend his title with Edgar on Dec. 2, but due to a training injury on Edgar's end, the bout was cancelled and Holloway threw down with Jose Aldo instead. After leaving no doubts about his dominance over Aldo, we'll now finally see the Holloway step into the Octagon against Edgar at UFC 222. The Hawaiian is currently riding an impressive 12-fight win streak, which is the fifth-longest in the history of UFC. After being named the 2017 "Fighter of the Year" by the UFC as well, Holloway will look to continue his momentum into the new year in this main event bout. The 26-year-old will certainly open as the favorite over Edgar, but with Edgar on the tails of winning his last two fights over Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez, Holloway will be in for a battle in Vegas.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway's win streak is at an even dozen. It's a remarkable stat in today's world of MMA and made even more remarkable by the fact that he has defeated countless top fighters along the way. As Joe Rogan correctly pointed out on the broadcast, Holloway lured Aldo into a brawl and Aldo fell for it. By the time Round 3 rolled around, the champion was as fresh as a daisy and Aldo was gasping for air and looking for answers. He found none. Holloway excels at throwing combinations and remaining active. It's not a stretch to say he could fight for 10 rounds if he had to. Holloway was originally scheduled to take on Frankie Edgar on Saturday before "The Answer" had to withdraw due to injury and it seems like a near certainty that the UFC will try to set that fight up once again. Holloway has developed into one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and he is going to be a pretty healthy betting favorite over Edgar if that fight ends up taking place.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway recently defeated Aldo via TKO (punches) at UFC 212 in early June to claim the UFC featherweight title, but now he will have to defend his title against the former champion due to Edgar's withdrawal. Aldo was supposed to take on Ricardo Lamas on Dec. 16, but the promotion will have to find Lamas a new opponent after granting Aldo another shot at Holloway.
Fantasy AnalysisThe injury, which Edgar suffered while training, is serious enough to require surgery, ending his chances at claiming the featherweight title from Holloway. While a replacement fighter hasn't been announced yet, Holloway is expected to stay on the card. The 25-year-old Hawaiian is currently in the midst of an 11-fight win streak, with his last victory coming via TKO over Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship at UFC 212 in June.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway became the featherweight champion with a TKO victory over Jose Aldo, and is currently riding an 11-fight win streak. The UFC will now reward the 25-year-old for his efforts, locking in the Hawaiian for an unspecified number of fights to come. There's plenty of star potential with Holloway, who is just getting started in his MMA career. He's been fighting professionally since 2010, and if he can avoid major injury, Holloway will eventually make his way into the promotion's record books.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway is the hottest fighter in the UFC outside of possibly Demetrious Johnson, as the newly-crowned champion hasn't been beaten since an Aug. 2013 loss to current lightweight king Conor McGregor. Since that defeat, Holloway has rattled off 11 wins in a row, capping it off with a TKO win over all-time great Jose Aldo to win the belt. Holloway thrives on tremendous striking volume (5.79 significant strikes per minute), which always makes him an excellent fantasy play in a five-round fight. The Hawaiian also sports an impressive takedown defense of 83 percent, which he'll need to counteract the wrestling of Edgar. Measurement-wise, he'll be five inches taller than Edgar on fight night, but owns just a one-inch reach advantage. At 25 years old, Holloway is just getting started in what could be an amazing run of title defenses, but an experienced opponent like Edgar will be one of his toughest challenges to date outside of Aldo. Since Edgar's last two losses have been to Aldo, Holloway should enter as a slight betting favorite in what projects to be a close matchup.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway's win is made all the more impressive by the fact he did virtually nothing over the first two rounds. He seemed slow and sluggish to begin the fight, but he clocked Aldo with a combination early in Round 3. He jumped on top of the Brazilian and slowly worked for the finish. The way Holloway took his time and didn't punch himself out while seeking the stoppage was particularly impressive. You would never guess than this is a 25-year-old kid who still has room for improvement. It's a scary thought. The fact Holloway could beat one of the best fighters of all time when he wasn't at his best is scary news for the rest of the UFC's featherweight division. Not that there should have been a doubt previously, but it's quite clear that Holloway is one of the very best fighters in the world - in any division. "Blessed", the winner of 11 fights in a row, last loss on August 17, 2013 against Conor McGregor.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway, 25, is quite possibly the hottest fighter in the UFC right now. He last fought in December, picking up his tenth straight win after finishing former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the third round via body punches/kicks. For a young fighter, he's seen some of the best competition the UFC featherweight division has to offer, but it's no easy task to go to Brazil and take on Aldo. The crowd will be against him, but Holloway certainly has the length and striking ability to become a champion. It's the fight he wanted, and the best matchup for the young Hawaiian at this time.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway has won ten fights in a row, a truly mind numbing stat in today's world of MMA. It took Blessed a couple of minutes to find his range, but he picked Pettis apart from then on. Pettis apparently broke his hand on the first punch he threw, but Holloway still had to take advantage of his opportunity and he did just that. Holloway turned 25-years old just last week and he continues to improve every single time we see him fight. His ability to mix up his strikes and connect from different angles is a thing of beauty. The unification title fight between Holloway and current UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo is going to be something else. Holloway already began jawing at Aldo in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. Holloway asked for the title fight on the UFC's upcoming pay-per-view card on February 11, 2017 in Brooklyn. That is probably a bit too soon, but Aldo v. Holloway is coming to an arena near you at some point in 2017.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway is one of the hottest fighters in the world right now, as he's won nine straight bouts dating back to early 2014. No other UFC fighter has built up a winning streak like that without receiving a title shot, but with a two-belt-minded Conor McGregor and a disgruntled Jose Aldo currently atop the division, it's unclear when Holloway will have a chance to fight for a belt. He won't be able to look too far ahead, however, as he'll face a former UFC Lightweight champion in Pettis who's coming off a submission victory over Charles Oliveira in August. The action will commence Dec. 10 in Toronto.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was Holloway's ninth straight win and perhaps the most impressive of all. He battered Lamas from the opening bell, clearly winning virtually all the striking exchanges between the two. Holloway also dominated on the ground for good measure. He was able to push forward at will, constantly forcing Lamas to fight with his back against the cage. The 24-year-old Holloway gets better every time we see him. The announced rematch between UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz is not good news for Holloway. He deserves a massive fight and with Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo set to fight for the Interim Featherweight Championship at UFC 200, Holloway is going to need at least one more massive win to get into the title picture. Assuming a title shot is out of the picture, Holloway and his management team should hold out and demand a fight against Chad Mendes. He deserves it.
Fantasy AnalysisFollowing eight-straight impressive wins, Holloway should be getting a title shot by now, but with the way the UFC's featherweight division is currently situated, he is in need of at least two more big wins for that to happen. Holloway won't turn 25 years of age until December and he improves every time we see him, so it's very possible that he can take his game to another level entirely. It's a scary thought. Holloway's standup game gets most of the attention, but he is a very well-rounded mixed martial artist, even if we don't see it on a regular basis. This is a far tougher fight for Holloway on paper than the odds would indicate, but he has risen to every challenge placed in front of him over the past two and a half years.
Fantasy AnalysisConsidering Holloway fought just earlier this month, the injury shouldn't impact his next fight. Holloway suffered the injury to his right thumb in his unanimous decision win over Jeremy Stephens. The streaking Holloway has won eight fights in a row and it's not entirely out of the question that the 24-year-old could fight four the UFC featherweight title at some point in late 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisIt wasn't Holloway's best effort, but it was one that he clearly won. His takedown defense was exceptional and although the first two rounds were fairly close, Holloway landed a huge takedown in the final stanza to seal the deal. It is Holloway's eighth win in a row. Which considering the competition the 24-year-old has faced, is pretty remarkable. Holloway asked for a title shot in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, but that won't happening. He is still behind Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, Frankie Edgar and maybe Chad Mendes on the depth chart.
Fantasy AnalysisA -560 line is a definitive statement from linemakers, as "Blessed" is expected to make Stephens a casualty of his run at a title shot. Somewhat unbelievably, Holloway has amassed seven victories since his Aug. 2013 loss to Conor McGregor -- two, most recently, coming over contenders Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira. Stephens throws caution to the wind in his fights, making him a dangerous opponent for any featherweight. Outspoken of his title shot aspirations, a win over Stephens may seal the deal for Holloway.
Fantasy AnalysisIt has become quite clear that the UFC is just trying to book every major fight for UFC 194 that they can and then they will figure out some sort of bout order later. There are so many quality fights on the card that it is starting to get ridiculous. Holloway picked up a victory over Charles Oliveira roughly two weeks ago after Oliveira suffered a freak injury (that still hasn't been fully explained) 99 seconds into the bout and couldn't continue. Holloway will be looking for his eight straight win. He's a legitimate top-five featherweight.
Fantasy AnalysisNot much analysis needed here. Holloway celebrated like he actually did something positive, but a freak injury to Oliveira caused this one to be stopped. It was an even 90-plus seconds, Holloway went for a takedown and it appeared Oliveira hurt either his neck or shoulder. Technically, Holloway picks up another big win, but nothing of note (outside of the injury) happened in this one. Depending on the severity of Oliveira's injury, the UFC would be smart to try and do this one over.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway is on a six-fight winning streak and his last loss came in August 2013 against Conor McGregor. Oliveira should have the advantage on the ground, but Holloway is the far better strike of the two. It's an underrated bout. It's hard to believe that Holloway is still just 23-years old. He has already had 12 fights since debuting in the UFC in February 2012.
Fantasy AnalysisHolloway will use this opportunity to hopefully rise to the ranks and earn a title shot in the flyweight division. He's currently riding a seven-fight winning streak, with his last defeat coming against Conor McGregor on Aug. 17, 2013. McGregor is set to fight Jose Aldo at UFC 189 for the flyweight title, and the winner of that bout could be Holloway's next opponent, should he take care of business against Oliveira.