Max Holloway will be entering foreign territory tomorrow afternoon (Sat., Jan. 16, 2021) at UFC Fight Island 7 when he fights Calvin Katter live on ABC from inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Not only will this be the first UFC main event on ABC, but it will be Holloway’s first non-title fight since 2016.
Holloway, who is coming off back-to-back losses to current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, is trying to fight his way back into a title fight in 2021. The former division champion and all-time UFC great is going to have to win a few fights to get there. And while “Blessed” believes he still has the best fighting skills in the division he isn’t overlooking Kattar this weekend on “Fight Island.”
“He’s standing across from me for a reason,” Holloway told UFC.com. “I gotta respect that. At the end of the day, I just can’t wait. He earned his spot to be here, but come Saturday night, we find out a lot of answers.”
This will be Holloway’s first non-title fight since a decision win over Ricardo Lamas all the way back at UFC 199. That happened well over four years ago and some fans believe Holloway’s current situation could lead to a hungrier “Blessed” inside of the cage. Holloway might agree that he has to win this bout to stay afloat at 145 pounds, but the veteran remains adamant that he carries the same focus into each and every one of his fights.
“I see that stuff, and I respect that,” he said. “That’s what some people like to say. That’s what most people say. But the difference is I’ve been hungry. The last fight, I trained over Zoom. How much hungrier can someone get? We couldn’t train in person. I had to train over Zoom. We figured it out, and I’ve been hungry. I can’t wait to go out there Saturday night and not necessarily remind people or show people; I just want to go out there and do my thing.”
Holloway, who despite his long UFC tenure remains just 29 years of age, is in a better position than most to regain his spot in line for a featherweight title shot. That’s because “Blessed” will make his Octagon return against Kattar on broadcast television. He will have an opportunity to impress sports fans that have never seen a MMA fight before and create an even larger following heading into one of the most important years of his career.
“Fighting on ABC is huge,” Holloway said. “You want to talk about titles, you want to talk about pay-per-view fights, this is the cream of the crop. I know some pay-per-view guys who would love to be on ABC. This is the first fight of the year for the UFC, so it’s huge. It’s opportunities like this where I get to help introduce people to mixed martial arts, help introduce people to the UFC, so I’m excited in that way.”
UFC Fight Island 7 will mark Holloway’s second trip to Abu Dhabi’s combat getaway as he lost a split decision to Volkanovski at UFC 251 last July.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 7 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ and ABC at 3 p.m. ET.
For more UFC Fight Island 7 fight card news click here.