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UFC Fight Night 74 complete fighter breakdown, Max 'Blessed' Holloway edition resident fighter analyst Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC Fight Night 74 headliner Max Holloway, who will look to extend his win streak this Sunday (Aug. 23, 2015) inside SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

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Hawaiian kickboxing specialist, Max Holloway, will collide with Brazilian grappling ace, Charles Oliveira, this Sunday (Aug. 23, 2015) inside SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Holloway has really come into his own in the last couple years. His current six-fight win streak has moved him from the position of prospect to contender, and he's improved rapidly in that time frame. During that streak, Holloway finished all but one of his victories.

Now, Holloway is paired off with another talented young gun looking to live up to his potential. Can he impose his will on the dangerous submission fighter?

Let's take a closer look at this skill set and find out:


Holloway is a very dangerous striker, pairing excellent fundamentals with an assortment of flashier techniques. While Holloway adjusts his approach depending on opponent, there are a number of elements to his attack that remain true in each of his fights.

Firstly, it's worth noting that Holloway is now fluid from both stances. He doesn't merely shift into Southpaw to throw a few key techniques before quickly transitioning back -- Holloway will flow between stances mid-combination and is consistently effective.

The meat and potatoes of Holloway's striking game is definitely his boxing. Behind all the spinning or flying techniques and stance-switching is a very solid understanding of distance and ability to put smart combinations together.

In particular, Holloway uses his jab quite well to control range. Whenever he's facing off with a shorter opponent -- not uncommon for the lanky kickboxer -- Holloway is jamming his opponent's attempts to close distance with frequent jabs and movement. Additionally, he's showed in his few matches with similarly built or lengthier opponents that he can move in behind the jab, successfully getting into his own range.

Furthermore, Holloway builds off the jab very well. In contrast to his varied kicking assault, Holloway's combinations are generally fairly simple. He mostly relies on his jab, cross, and lead hook, but Holloway uses feints and high activity to make his boxing more than formidable.

For example, Holloway is a big fan of hooking off the jab. After establishing his jab -- and thus ensuring his opponent respects the strike -- the Hawaiian will soon begin firing off quick lead hooks right after jabbing, which commonly land around his opponent's guard. On occasion, Holloway will really screw up his opponent's defense by following that up with a crisp cross.

Additionally, Holloway will throw his hook off the jab to the body. Holloway's consistent body work is one of the best aspects of his game, as he routinely breaks down his opponent's defense and conditioning. Combined with his already high output, a few well-placed body shots can really ruin his opponent's night.

Striking with Max Holloway is simply an exhausting task.

Aside from hooking off the jab, Holloway will commonly close the distance to land multiple hooks to the mid-section. Once he's in this close range, Holloway keeps his guard high and strikes at whatever is open. This has become a common finishing technique for him, teeing off on his opponent's tired body as they cover against the fence.

Fully covering Holloway's kicking game is a more difficult task. In each fight, he tries out some new techniques and drops some old ones, meaning that he's attempted a fair number of flashy kicks in his UFC career.

The biggest addition to Holloway's game has been his spinning back kick. It's another excellent technique that works the body, and Holloway throws it with fairly reckless abandon. Despite the risk, Holloway throws and connects with the technique often enough that it's very effective, as just one can severely wind his opponent.

Another interesting technique in Holloway's arsenal is him jump knee to the body from southpaw, which he landed on Cub Swanson numerous times. It's too early to know if this will stick around, but Holloway managed to leap into a brutal strike to the mid-section each time he threw it.

While Holloway doesn't actively seek it out, he's proven himself to be dangerous in the clinch as well. He often uses elbows to break away but will also sneak high knees towards his opponent's face.

Finally, Holloway's defense has improved alongside the rest of his game. A couple years back, he was getting in wild brawls with Leonard Garcia and relying on his chin to keep him upright. Fast forward to modern day and Holloway has gotten very good at covering up to avoid shots and angling off after landing his own punches.

Just ask Swanson, as the dangerous puncher missed on a vast majority of his punches.


Holloway opened his UFC career by getting taken down and submitted by Dustin Poirier on short-notice as a 20 year old with four professional fights. Despite resisting both the takedown and submission admirably, there was a prevailing belief that he was weak in both of those areas for a fairly long time.

The Hawaiian has proven that more than false.

Offensively, Holloway has scored just a single takedown inside the Octagon. With 10 seconds left in the round, Holloway dropped down in the clinch for a double leg against Cole Miller and landed it. Presumably, Holloway has more in his arsenal if necessary, but he hasn't shown it yet.

More importantly, Holloway's takedown defense has proven to be very good. Early on in his UFC career, it was fairly average, but he's done a very nice job improving on that area of his game.

Simply put, Holloway does every element of takedown defense very well, and that starts with his stand up. Thanks to his good habits of maintaining a healthy distance and keeping his feet under him, Holloway is rarely caught out of position and is difficult to shoot against.

When his opponent does get in on his hips, Holloway sprawls well or will get his back against the fence. From there, he continues to widen his base while scoring with occasional punches and elbows.

Finally, Holloway does a very nice job limiting the amount of time he spends on his back. When he is brought down to the mat, he quickly bounces back up or wall-walks. While this does take a fair amount of energy, Holloway has an extremely deep gas tank. Meanwhile, his opponent -- who's likely been eating body shots the whole night -- just did a ton of work with very little payoff, leaving him in prime position to eat more punches and kicks.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Since Holloway spends so little time on the mat, much of his jiu-jitsu game is fairly unknown. When he's on his back, Holloway isn't searching for submissions, he's trying to scramble back to his feet.

And, as mentioned, Holloway doesn't exactly look for takedowns.

That said, Holloway has demonstrated at least one wrinkle of his submission game inside the Octagon. He's become very aggressive with his high elbow guillotine choke, which is responsible for two of the wins on his current streak.

The first came at the end of a back-and-forth battle with Andre Fili. After hurting the Californian with a spinning kick to the body, Holloway moved in and fired off a combination. The wounded Fili shot in for a single leg, and Holloway seized the opportunity by snatching his neck and falling into the choke. When Fili attempted to roll out, Holloway hung on long enough to force the tap.

More recently, Holloway repeatedly attacked Cub Swanson with the same guillotine. Holloway rocked and dropped Swanson multiple times in their bout, and he usually followed him to the mat and tried to force the choke. In the third round, Holloway finally locked it in and advanced into mount.

From there, he cranked on his opponent's neck and broken jaw until "Killer Cub" submitted.

Defensively, Holloway really hasn't been tested all that much recently, as none of his opponents have been able to consistently take him down or do anything with their brief top position.

If Oliveira manages to get him down, it will certainly be a major test for that area of his game.

Best Chance For Success

In this bout, Holloway needs to pressure his opponent from the end of his range. Oliveira is a very offense-minded fighter, and he does best when he's controlling the center of the Octagon and pushing the pace.

Holloway should take that away from him.

Holloway is simply safer when moving forward. In addition to him certainly landing more of his own damaging shots -- and body blows should be a major part of his game plan -- it will be harder for Oliveira to use his usual takedowns or explode into punches. If Oliveira tries to switch up his attack by using his nasty clinch game, Holloway is well-versed in those exchanges as well.

Above all else, Holloway needs to avoid the wild elements of Oliveira's attacks. There's every chance the Brazilian will suddenly lunge in with an overhand or jump guard, and those are the moments that Holloway is at risk. Otherwise, he has the game to keep the fight standing and pick his opponent apart.

Will Max Holloway make his bid for a title shot or will Charles Oliveira finish another fight in dramatic fashion?

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