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Arnold Allen views Max Holloway fight as ‘bigger opportunity’ than Yair Rodriguez interim title tilt

UFC Fight Night: Kattar v Allen Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Things have worked out pretty well for Arnold Allen after a quick patch of bad luck.

The British Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight standout last fought in Oct. 2022, extending his winning streak to 12 (10 in UFC) with a second-round technical knockout of Calvin Kattar (watch highlights). Unfortunately, a knee injury to Kattar is what forced the stoppage for Allen.

Discussions were then had for Allen to co-main event the upcoming March 18, 2023, pay-per-view (PPV), UFC 286, against former champion, Max Holloway. Allen was forced to decline because of some lingering injuries, but ultimately led to the match up getting rebooked for UFC Kansas City’s main event on April 15, 2023.

Allen is more than happy he’s still getting this specific fight with Holloway despite missing out on the interim Featherweight title bout that crowned Yair Rodriguez the new champion over Josh Emmett this past weekend (Feb. 11, 2023).

“It was the match up I was hoping for when they announced the interim fight,” Allen said on The MMA Hour. “So I was kind of — not surprised, I was expecting it. But then the UFC doesn’t always do what you expect. Sometimes they come out of left field with some, and I’m like, ‘Hang on a minute, what’s going on there?’ But in a way, I was sort of relieved because that was the next best option out there that wasn’t an interim title shot. For me, I think this is bigger than that opportunity.”

Mexico’s Rodriguez was in a similar situation before facing Emmett. His July 2022 win over Brian Ortega ended abruptly from a shoulder injury in a first-round grappling exchange (watch highlights). However, his second-round triangle choke submission win over Emmett (watch highlights) was an overall excellent performance, leading him to two wins in a row since his last defeat to the aforementioned Holloway.

“All respect to Yair, but Max beat him the last time out,” Allen said. “Also, given the fights he’s had with [Alexander] Volkanovski. I scored the second one for Max Holloway, and how impressive Alex has been looking, that makes Max look even better. How competitive he’s been. Obviously, the last fight wasn’t very competitive, but they’ve been very close decisions, and Volkanovski’s gone up in weight against someone nobody wants to fight and has looked amazing, and I thought he won.”

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