Former featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway (21-6, 10 KOs, 2 SUBs) will meet No. 6 Calvin Kattar (22-4, 11 KOs, 2 SUBs) in the headlining matchup of UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Holloway on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The card airs live on ABC starting at 9pm ET. Also on the card is a fun welterweight bout between action fighter Santiago Ponzinibbio (20-5-1, 7 KOs, 5 SUBs) and China’s Jingliang Li (17-6, 7 KOs, 5 SUBs). The UFC odds at BookMaker.eu opened with Holloway as a sizable -189 favorite, with Kattar at +159 on the comeback. Let’s take a look at the Holloway-Kattar matchup and break down your best online betting picks.
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Max Holloway (21-6, 10 KOs, 2 SUBs)
It was just over a year ago that Joe Rogan was making the case that Max Holloway was the GOAT - ahead of Jose Aldo. The argument: “Blessed” was riding a 14-fight win streak at 145 pounds (though he lost an interim lightweight title bout to Dustin Poirier during this time), and he was smoking guys like Aldo, Charles Oliveira and Brian Ortega. Dude was never really in trouble through the run.
Then he ran into Alexander Volkanovski and lost - twice. Volkanovski refused to get sucked into Holloway's high volume tornado and stopped his advances with powerful counter combinations. Both fights were close, but the Aussie emerged as the clear winner and undisputed champion.
The question here: was Volkanovski just a bad matchup, or did he expose Holloway? We’ll say that it’s mostly the former, with some of the latter. Volkanovski had the tools to follow Poirier’s blueprint, and Max has now failed in three fights to find away to beat quick, powerful punchers that can return fire and circle away from trouble. Holloway is 29 years old and an elite fighter, but can he find other ways to win?
Calvin Kattar (22-4, 11 KOs, 2 SUBs)
“The Boston Finisher” doesn’t have the sparkling resume of his opponent, but he’s made a big impression the past few years. Despite close losses to Moicano and Zabit Magomedsharipov, Kattar’s wins over quality competition like Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige featured such crisp, powerful striking that he’s earned a reputation as one of the division’s best pure boxers. On top of that, he’s a big, powerful athlete at this weight class.
On paper, Kattar matches up well with Holloway. For starters, he is an excellent counterpuncher with the hand speed to flummox Holloway. Factor in his sharp footwork and you can convince yourself that he can sidestep out of trouble when his opponent tries to corner him. Holloway isn’t exactly an offensive wrestler, so he won’t have to worry about takedowns either. What he does have to prepare for is a five round fight with an iron-chinned cardio machine. Kattar has never had issues with cardio, but he’s also never fought somebody who applies so much pressure either.
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Holloway 6.66 / Kattar 5.29
Striking accuracy: Holloway 44% / Kattar 41%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Holloway 4.45 / Kattar 6.46
Striking defense: Holloway 62% / Kattar 55%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Holloway 0.24 / Kattar 0.42
Takedown accuracy: Holloway 83% / Kattar 28%
Takedown defense: Holloway 85% / Kattar 77%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Holloway 0.39 / Kattar 0
We love the value on Kattar anywhere around the +150 range, give or take 10 points. It’s doubtful that Holloway changes who he is at this point, and his style plays into Kattar’s strengths. The Boston Finisher also has the benefit of studying Holloway’s three recent losses and applying the same gameplan. This will be a close fight, but Kattar’s crisp, stinging counterpunches give him a clear path to victory. Should the money lines come closer to even money, it’s a bet we’d stay away from.
UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar Card & Odds
Featherweight - Calvin Kattar +130 vs. Max Holloway -157
Featherweight - Jacob Kilburn +177 vs. Austin Lingo -215
Heavyweight - Justin Tafa +154 vs. Carlos Felipe -186
Middleweight - Punahele Soriano +130 vs. Dusku Todorovic -157
Welterweight - David Zawada +207 vs. Ramazan Emeev -255
Women's Bantamweight - Vanessa Melo +188 vs. Sarah Moras -230
Welterweight - Li Jingliang +239 vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio -298
Middleweight - Nassourdine Imavov +113 vs. Phil Hawes -137
Middleweight - Alessio Di Chirico +221 vs. Joaquin Buckley -274
Welterweight - Matt Brown +143 vs. Carlos Condit -171
Flyweight - Joselyne Edwards -102 vs. Yanan Wu -122
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