Holloway’s win streak has been snapped, can he retain his king of the featherweights moniker?
When it comes to volume striking and forward pressure, UFC featherweight champion Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway is arguably unmatched in the mixed-martial-arts world. Saturday night, the Hawaiian favorite looks to rebound from a decision defeat to Dustin Poirier, and subsequently retain his 145-pound championship. It’s third time lucky for this meeting, Holloway meets Ricardo Almeida BJJ wrestler Frankie Edgar in a highly anticipated matchup, in the main event of UFC 240 in Edmonton. Max makes his return to featherweight this weekend, with his one-sided striking showcase against Brain Ortega fresh in memory.
The Rising Star:
Holloway firmly put the kibosh on health scare rumors in his second title defense, leaving then-undefeated prospect and betting favorite Ortega bloodied and battered throughout before a fourth-round doctor stoppage. Displaying some of the slickest boxing and combination work we’ve seen in the last number of years, Holloway exacted a striking clinic on Ortega. Cutting angles for body shots, countering expertly and sliding just in and out of range to set up those subsequent counters, Max really made his case for the consensus best featherweight in Octagon history is that gleaming performance
Holloway has only been bested by Conor McGregor, Dennis Bermudez both by decision, and upcoming opponent Poirier via triangle-armbar and then a recent unanimous decision in his nineteen fight UFC stint, an incredible stat. In his victories over José Aldo, Holloway displayed a very good chin, taking some swinging shots from the Brazilian before finishing with ground and pound in both pairings.
Path To Victory:
Holloway’s output is significantly higher than opponent Frankie Edgar, but the New Jersey native is the far superior wrestler. Edgar’s championship grit and previous exploits against some of best lightweights around will most certainly be called upon when paired with somebody as frantic as Holloway. It was clear in Holloway’s UFC debut the potential he had as a creative striker, with his hands truly polished now under head coach Rylan Lizares. Both men’s swarming and smothering styles are highly contrasting it has to be said, with Holloway the more proficient finisher. Holloway elects to stick behind his whip-like jab-straight and pick you apart, while Edgar tends to grind out an opponent and not necessarily push the issue of a finish. With a tendency to wrestle an opponent rather than strike in search of a victory, Edgar will draw out a submission if presented with one. Edgar’s ability to survive an onslaught is second to none, revert to his clashes with Gray Maynard and Jeremy Stephens.