Kicking off the UFC’s 2021 schedule on January 16th. — former featherweight kingpin, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway looks to reinsert himself into title contention in a massive main event tie opposite championship hopeful, the streaking Calvin Kattar.
On paper, it’s one of the most intriguing pairings the promotion could field at 145-pounds today, given Kattar’s recent emergence as a contending force in the division, and Holloway’s pair of close decision defeats to incumbent best, Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski, and his always stout performances.
With the Aussie all but penned to draw one-time title chaser, Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega in his second attempted title defence, we’ve got an almost certain title-eliminator between Holloway and Kattar on ‘Fight Island’, and the latter has offered opposition, Holloway a couple words of advice ahead of the tie.
The winner of two on the trot, it’s been a splendid 2020 for Kattar inside the Octagon, launching his contender bid with a stunning second-round, step-in elbow knockout of longtime punisher, Jeremy ‘Lil’ Heathen’ Stephens.
Headlining UFC Fight Island 1 in July, Kattar took on another Hawaiin specialist, ‘Dynamite’ Dan Ige. Engaging in an entertaining back-and-forth in his second promotional headliner, Kattar took home a unanimous decision win, as well as the #6 rank in the official featherweight pile.
Speaking with MMA Fighting reporter, Mike Heck on his show What The Heck, Kattar explained how he feels Holloway is an opponent every title hopeful should go through if they want to lift the crown, however, warned the Hawaiian puncher against overlooking his incoming siege.
“It’s a good opportunity to show that I’m the guy,” Kattar said. “There’s (sic) these guys out there touting Max (Holloway) like he’s still the champ, and I think he may even be still focused on the champ (Alexander Volkanovski). But to overlook me would be a mistake.”
“Any time you fight a guy like Max Holloway with the accolades he has, it is a championship-calibre fight,” Kattar told Heck. “He might not have the belt right now, but it’s that type of fight, one-hundred per cent. It’s a five-round main event fight and the only thing missing is the belt. It’s all about Max Holloway and I don’t plan on leaving it close.“
Dropping a second consecutive defeat to City Kickboxing mainstay, Volkanovki at UFC 251 in July on Yas Island, Holloway recently touched on the matchup, and still maintains that the majority of onlookers believe he should’ve come away with a decision win, as well as the featherweight throne back in tow.