Max Holloway takes on Anthony Pettis in the headliner for UFC 206 in Toronto, Ontario with the interim featherweight title at stake. The winner is all set to face Brazilian Jose Aldo for the legitimate 145lb world title after he was reinstalled champion following Conor Mcgregor’s triumph up at lightweight.
Currently ranked at number two, Holloway is very tall for the division standing at 5ft 11 inches with a leg reach of 42 inches. This is one of the factors that help him to maintain such a good takedown defence percentage (83%). Despite his official stats which state that he only possesses a 69 inch arm reach, he utilises his height very well when boxing.
For me the ‘blessed’ Hawaiin, Max Holloway, is one of the brightest prospects out there and his rise through the ranks largely went under the radar due to the emphatic rise of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor who completely took over the 145lb division.
Holloway, at 24 years of age is still young in the game but he is really coming into his own now and starting to see the fruits of his labour that he took on early on in his UFC career. The fact that he was matched so tough early on has really benefited him. The first four opponents that Holloway was matched against had over 100 fights between them.
Since his three round unanimous loss to Mcgregor back in 2013 he has won an impressive nine fights on the bounce and comes into this fight with sky high confidence. Max Holloway has been improving exponentially with every single fight.
In his last fight he outpointed the highly experienced and explosive Ricardo Lamas. Stylistically Ricardo Lamas is a great fight to have won before fighting someone like Pettis because there are similarites in there stand up game.
Lamas threw many high kicks throughout the fight but to no avail. Holloway dominated territorially the centre of the cage and got the better of the vast majority of the punch exchanges backing Lamas up against the cage.
One of the keys to his success is his impeccable takedown defence which was in full display against Ricardo lamas in his last fight.
His opponent Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis has an exciting crowd pleasing style and has provided the UFC with some epic finishes. He is very athletic and his brazilian jui jitsu is at a high level which makes him supremely dangerous on the ground. He is good on the ground and good on the feet.
He is a third degree black belt in taekwondo and with that background he has some of the best variety of high kicks in the sport. Most famous of these was the one he used when running off the cage before landing a knock out kick to the head against Henderson as well as the highlight reel left kick against Joe Lauzon back in UFC 144 2012.
Anthony Pettis moved down from the lightweight division after losing at the hands of Edson Barboza and Eddie Alvarez in the last year in a bid to revive his career as a headliner. He won his last fight by beating Charles Oliveira by submission. His ground game is fast, technical and aggressive.
Max Holloway has the advantage with punching in this fight but Pettis is the more advanced kicker and more technical on the ground. However, he will have trouble getting Holloway down there because as mentioned before he is so adept with his takedown defence. Pettis actually goes into this fight the underdog with bookmakers despite his history as a former lightweight champion but nobody wants to side against Holloway at the moment.