- Date & Location: Saturday Jan. 16 @ Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi UAE
- Odds: Max Holloway (-165) vs. Calvin Kattar (+135) via Bovada
- Prediction: Max Holloway via decision
The first UFC event of 2021 is also the first UFC event that ABC will broadcast. Saturday’s fight card, which is headlined by a matchup between former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar, sees the promotion heading back to Abu Dhabi. The event, which is the first of three fight cards to take place at Etihad Arena in January, will be the first UFC fight card to have a crowd since UFC 248, which took place in March 2020. Abu Dhabi is allowing a limited number of fans to attend UFC on ABC 1 under its own COVID-19 protocol.
Holloway, who is the No. 1 ranked featherweight in the official UFC rankings, is 1-3 in his past four fights. All three of his losses have come in title fights. He lost a shot at the lightweight title in 2019 and then dropped his 145-pound belt to Alexander Volkanovski in late 2019. Volkanovski defeated the 29-year-old in their 2020 rematch.
Kattar, who is ranked No. 6 in the featherweight division, is on a two-fight winning streak. The 32-year-old is 6-2 in the UFC. Both of his UFC losses came via decision.
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HOLLOWAY vs. KATTAR ODDS
HOLLOWAY vs. KATTAR PREDICTION & PICK
Looking at his record, one might think Max Holloway has reached the point in his career where things begin to take a turn for the worse. I don’t believe that’s the case. All three of his recent losses came in title fights and one of those was at 155 pounds. Each of those bouts went the five-round distance and the two featherweight title fights were close enough that UFC president Dana White is still talking about a third matchup between Holloway and the fighter who defeated him for the 145-pound strap, Alexander Volkanovski.
Before his 1-3 run, Holloway was on a UFC featherweight record 13-fight winning streak with 10 stoppage victories.
Kattar, who is three years older than Holloway, does not have nearly the UFC experience of his opponent, but he went five rounds in his most recent outing, a July 2020 unanimous decision win over Dan Ige.
Kattar is a hard hitter, but he is not as complete as Holloway. A knockout is Kattar’s best path to victory. Unless Holloway’s chin has failed him, Kattar will have his work cut out for him in that department. Holloway has never been knocked down in his nearly five hours of UFC featherweight fight time.
BETTING VALUE WITH HOLLOWAY
Holloway has 10 knockout wins on his record, but he is not known as a power puncher — he only has two first-round stoppages in his UFC career and the most recent came in 2015 when he defeated Charles Oliveira via TKO due to a shoulder injury.His only legit first-round striking TKO came in 2014 when he stopped Akira Corassani. Instead, Holloway uses volume to break his opponents.
No UFC featherweight has landed more significant strikes than Holloway (1,868). He lands 6.29 significant strikes per minute, which is second to only Shane Burgos and his striking differential of plus 2.01 puts Holloway fourth all-time in the UFC’s145-pound weight class.
Expect Holloway to put that volume on Kattar and use it to get himself a decision victory.
Kattar has never been knocked out.
Prediction: Holloway by decision -158 at BetOnline.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
I believe this fight could come down to Holloway’s chin. Kattar has the power and skill to add a 12th knockout victory to his career total, but that will depend on Holloway’s ability to absorb that power. It’s a rare fighter who lasts their entire career without getting knocked down or knocked out, but Holloway has done that so far during his UFC run. However, he has taken a lot of shots during his run with the promotion as well. With the amount of abuse he has taken, questions are being asked about when his chin will fail him. I don’t think it will be this fight, but then again, there is a greater than zero chance that Kattar will be the one to hit Holloway on the button.
FIGHT STATS: HOLLOWAY vs. KATTAR
|Max Holloway||Category||Calvin Kattar|
|6.47||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||5.01|
|4.52||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||5.66|
|0.22||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.47|
|0.4||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.0|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
It would not be a surprise to see Holloway get a shot at the featherweight title with a win over Kattar. He has long been a fan favorite and the fact White was pushing for a trilogy fight opposite Volkanovski tells you more than you need to know about where Holloway stands with the UFC boss.
I don’t think Kattar will leap into a title fight if he gets a decision win, but if he becomes the first fighter to finish Holloway, that could put him in the mix for a shot at UFC gold.
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