Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight elites Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski will collide this Saturday (Dec. 14, 2019) at UFC 245 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Holloway hasn’t lost at 145 pounds since 2013, winning an incredible 14 fights in that span. Regardless of his opponents’ styles, Holloway draws each of them into kickboxing matches, drowning them with constant volume. Similar to the main event, this fight is made fun by the fact that Volkanovski also overwhelms his opponents with constant activity. The Aussie contender has won 17 straight bouts, including his first seven inside the Octagon.
It’s a remarkable fight that raises many questions, so let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 218, UFC 212), Frankie Edgar (UFC 240), Brian Ortega (UFC 231) Anthony Pettis (UFC 206), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 15), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Dustin Poirier (UFC 236, UFC 143), Conor McGregor (UFC Fight Night 26), Dennis Bermudez (UFC 160)
Keys to Victory: There are high-volume strikers, and then there’s Max “Blessed” Holloway. The Hawaiian routinely sets strike differential records when he fights, racking up massive numbers after establishing the jab and releasing dozens of combinations.
Holloway has shown an ability to fight from the outside and avoid foes with lateral movement, but this is not the fight for such tactics. Volkanovski is a bully, one well-trained in beating up foes looking to avoid exchanges. In fact, both Holloway and Volkanovski like to be the fight leading the dance, and it seems likely that whichever man is moving forward will be getting the better of exchanges.
It’s also important that Holloway kick actively, because Volkanovski can be counted on to flick the sneakily powerful switch kick into the mid-section. Kicking may increase the risk of the takedown, but Holloway cannot hope to out-strike Volkanovski while limiting himself to a small arsenal.
Lastly, body work will be key here! This is a 25-minute fight, and while neither man is ever going to fatigue to the point of becoming ineffective, accurate body work can still cause some sloppiness in later rounds. Plus, if Holloway is low and ripping hooks to the belly, Volkanovski will have a difficult time blasting a double-leg takedown.
Key Wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 237), Chad Mendes (UFC 232), Darren Elkins (UFC Fight Night 133), Jeremy Kennedy (UFC 221), Mizuto Hirota (UFC Fight Night 110)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Volkanovski is a seriously impressive athlete, a brutal combination of monstrous strength and impeccable conditioning. While he’s certainly not above throwing his foe to the mat and simply smashing them, Volkanovski is a skilled technical kickboxer as well, as he pairs a smart jab and lead leg kick quite well.
Once again, it seems very likely that this bout will be decided by which man is moving forward, as both operate best while leading the dance. In that regard, Volkanovski’s wrestling should prove a real advantage even if he’s unable to land a single takedown, as the Aussie can fully commit to kicks and punches without fear of being put on his back.
Volkanovski has to make it clear to Holloway that he cannot due the same. Even if the shot fails, trying to duck under a right hand or catch a kick send a valuable message that Holloway has to be concerned about the takedown. In what’s likely to be a competitive, high-volume fight, that little bit of hesitancy could well be the difference-maker.
This is really a tremendous fight.
Holloway has established himself clearly as the second-greatest Featherweight of all time. While there’s still work to be done in knocking Jose Aldo from that perch, Holloway has also proven himself one of the best champions in the sport. At Featherweight, he’s simply been untouchable.
Volkanovski, meanwhile, has all the physical and technical attributes one looks for in a future champion. He’s passed at every test thrown at him with flying colors — Aldo and Chad Mendes are SERIOUS tests, too! It’s a testament to his talents that he’s a minor underdog to such a dominant champion.
It’s such a high-skill match up that an eventual rematch seems likely regardless of the outcome. For Holloway, there is a chance that he moves to Lightweight should he ever cough up his 145-pound crown, but otherwise, he’ll be right in the mix again immediately. Meanwhile, if Volkanovski is the man to dethrone the Hawaiian, his odds look strong for a long title reign.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 245 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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At UFC 245, Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski will square off in the co-main event. Which man will leave the cage strapped with gold?