We’re smack-dab in the middle of the “Blessed Era,” and it’s a damn good place to be.
This is not an attempt at Alexander Volkanovski erasure. The Aussie is the champ, and he’s an incredible fighter by all measure. Rather, it’s a recognition that Holloway is still at his peak, putting on amazing performances against the best fighters in the world.
Last night was no exception. Opposite the returning Yair Rodriguez, Holloway overcame some early adversity — namely, his calf getting kicked to absolute pieces — to put it on Rodriguez late and pull the fight firmly back into his control. The performance definitely added to the “Blessed Era” legacy, reaffirming Holloway’s incredible volume, chin and grit.
How can anyone watch Max Holloway’s last 10 fights — all title fights or five rounders — and not be a fan?
At the same time, it’s important to recognize that the train will come off the tracks at some point. Holloway entered this bout as a 6-1 favorite, but he certainly didn’t look it. Rodriguez landed ridiculous shots, likely knockout blows against lesser competition, at a scary rate. The fight was extremely competitive to the final bell, and realistically, Rodriguez was just a single round away from victory on two scorecards.
Is that a credit to Rodriguez’s immense talent or a (relative) knock on Holloway? We’ll just have to see where each man goes from here and how their performances continue to stack up against the best Featherweights in the world.
Either way, the simple fact is that Holloway once again absorbed several hundred strikes distributed between his skull, liver, and lower leg. While never visibly phased, Holloway’s face actually bore the damage for once. He may be young, but at some point, that damage will add up. It may result in a seemingly innocuous shot finally cracking his chin or his reaction time starting to falter, but that decline is inevitable given the style and frequency of Holloway fights.
That’s the reason it’s so important to be grateful for Holloway right now, while he’s still at the height of his powers. The Hawaiian fights like no one else at the moment, and he promises either masterclass victories or blood-and-guts battles in each trip to the cage. He is the definition of must-watch inside the Octagon, whether he next pursues the Volkanovski trilogy, Conor McGregor or the Lightweight title.
Whatever the case, the “Blessed Era” has been the stuff of legend. As fans, all we can do is thank the Hawaiian and hope his greatness continues on for as long as possible.
For complete UFC Vegas 42: “Holloway vs. Rodriguez” results and play-by-play, click HERE.