Two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight up-and-comers are poised to bring the noise later tonight (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) in Boston, Mass., when "Notorious" Conor McGregor takes on the talented Hawaiian, "Blessed" Max Holloway.
These two 145-pound standouts are known for their striking skills, and their UFC Fight Night 26 clash on the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" under card will definitely wow those in the audience at TD Bank Garden.
McGregor was put the division on notice moments after his debut fight against Marcus Brimage, a one-round drubbing that demonstrated the Irishman's potential, as well as his smooth -- yet violent -- jaw-dropping approach to striking.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) game of "Notorious" is truly something special, and even at an early stage in his career, some fans are calling him one of the next big things in the UFC. His striking is incredibly fluid and composed, while still being potent and diverse. McGregor tends to fight out of the southpaw stance, using expertly-created angles to deliver massive power strikes that can come from any part of any limb.
In addition to his aggressive, technical striking, McGregor also attacks occasionally with superfluous techniques such as spinning strikes and even more. These work to his benefit by making him very unpredictable and ultimately posses fight-finishing power in their own right.
Holloway, meanwhile, is a scrappy young Hawaiian who also sports a dynamic and effective striking game. His fights in the Octagon to date have been fairly impressive for a young man of his age, 21, compiled a 3-2 record with respectable efforts in his two losses, especially in his controversial split-decision loss to Dennis Bermudez in his last outing.
"Blessed" boasts a tall, lanky frame for a Featherweight, standing 5'11," which is three inches taller than McGregor. In his recent outings, Holloway has shown to be much more proficient at utilizing his long frame to pop an autoritative jab, one that keeps distance well and sets up his other strikes. His kicking game is also quite honed -- he has become very good at mixing in kicks to the legs, body and head in his combinations.
In Holloway, we see a young fighter who is really coming into his own as a durable, high-paced striker. He has shown that he can take some very hard shots and keep on going. He has also shown that he can dish out some serious damage, too. From fight to fight, he has become much more honed. And while his style can occasionally be wild, it still remains effective unless he becomes fatigued.
This fight will get interesting if it drags into the later rounds. In the first round, both men will look to get deliver some slight damage to set up their fight-finishing blows; however, knowing each man's durability and fighting spirit, it is hard to believe it will end that quickly. There is a definitive edge in fight-ending power for McGregor, but it isn't so massive that he'll do away with Holloway like he did in his last outing against Brimage.
With Holloway taking this fight on short notice, he will need to play a more technical game, unless his cardio is ready to hold up for three hard fought rounds. This means a precise, reserved gameplan would probably suit him best. That said, he will have to keep a high pace and a lot of pop on his punches, lest he condemns himself to the living death that is allowing McGregor to cut angles for counters.
UFC Fight Night 26 is filled with potential amazing match ups from bottom to top. However, the clash between McGregor and Holloway is the most reliable as a great, hard-fought battle. Each man can -- and is more than willing to -- potentially put the other away early. Even if they don't, it still has all the ingredients to be a knock-down, drag-out showdown that sees both men battered, bloodied and bruised (but not beaten) until the final bell.
In other words, expect a firefight between two solid up-and-comers, Conor McGregor vs. Max Holloway, later tonight.