Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will begin his road back to a title shot at UFC Fight Island 7 on Jan. 16 live on ABC and ESPN+ from inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., when “Blessed” meets rising contender Calvin Kattar in the main event.
Holloway is coming off back-to-back losses to current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. “Blessed” had won 14 in a row at 145 pounds prior to his matchups with “The Great” so he’s more than capable of knocking off Kattar and sparking a new win streak for 2021.
While Holloway’s clash with Kattar next weekend will be his first non-title fight since a bout with Ricardo Lamas back in 2016 it will still be a five-round affair. It’s something that Holloway is well equipped to do and it has allowed him to keep most of his training the same for his Octagon return.
“At the end of the day, we’re fighting five rounds,” Holloway told Yahoo! Sports. “There’s no less work. I’ve got to do the same amount of work, the same amount I’ve been doing for a title fight – the same rules, the same everything.”
Despite this being just Kattar’s second five-round bid under the UFC banner the Boston native is more than capable of going the distance and giving Holloway problems all the way through. Kattar is coming off back-to-back wins over Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige and looks ready to take the next step in his career. He’s also one of the bigger featherweights on the UFC roster who possesses the physical attributes to match that of Holloway.
“Calvin is a dangerous dude, and we know he is dangerous because he will be standing across from me, and I’m excited for it,” said Holloway. “He’s from Boston. People like to talk about his boxing and people like to talk about my boxing, so the fun thing is … Calvin was saying something like I’m overlooking him, this and that. I can’t. How can I overlook you? He made it here. I’ve got to respect that. At the end of the day, I just can’t wait to fight him. I can’t wait to go in there and see what he has to offer.”
Holloway, who is still just 29 years old, remains one of the biggest name in the sport today. If he’s able to knock off Kattar in dramatic fashion on “Fight Island” there’s a good chance Holloway puts himself one or two wins away from a trilogy bout with Volkanovski.
“There’s no talk. There’s no regrets. We did what we did,” Holloway said of his two fights with Volkanovski. “The past is called ‘the past’ for a reason. You move on. You get on with the day, and I’m going to do hard work. This ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve told a lot of people, ‘If I’ve got to go out and get another 10-win streak, that’s what I’ve got to do.”
For what it’s worth this will be the first time Holloway isn’t fighting on a pay-per-view (PPV) card since a win over Charles Oliveira back in 2015.
For more UFC Fight Island 7 fight card news click here.