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UFC Kansas City preview: ‘Holloway vs Allen’ predictions

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will continue its nationwide tour this weekend with the UFC Kansas City: “Holloway vs. Allen” mixed martial arts (MMA) event, scheduled for this Sat. night (April 15, 2022) inside T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. UFC Kansas City, which airs on both ESPN and ESPN+, will be headlined by the featherweight showdown between former champion Max Holloway and streaking 145-pound contender Arnold Allen, ranked two spots behind “Blessed” at No. 4 in the division.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 74 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES FLYWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns home to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., June 3, 2023, with No. 3-seeded contender, Kai Kara-France, face rising No. 7-ranked Amir Albazi. In UFC Vegas 74’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, an exciting Featherweight bout sees No. 15-ranked contender, Alex Caceres, lock horns with all-action Daniel Pineda.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the featherweight showdown between battle-tested veteran Edson Barboza and “Contender Series” standout Billy Quarantillo, check out Patrick Stumberg’s nifty and thrifty preliminary card breakdowns here and here. In addition, budding free soloist Andrew Richardson did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Kansas City main card right here.

For the latest “Holloway vs. Allen” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s get to work.

145 lbs.: Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen

Max “Blessed” Holloway

Record: 23-7 | Age: 31 | Betting line: -185
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 11 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 6 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 69” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 7.24 | Striking accuracy: 47%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.89 | Striking Defense: 59%
Takedown Average: 0.29 (53% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 84%
Current Ranking: No. 2 | Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski

”Almighty” Arnold Allen

Record: 19-1 | Age: 29 | Betting line: +150
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.40 | Striking accuracy: 42%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.25 | Striking Defense: 67%
Takedown Average: 1.35 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 76%
Current Ranking: No. 4 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Calvin Kattar

Max Holloway is a lot like Robert Whittaker at middleweight. He’s had a couple of chances to dethrone the division champion — to no avail — and has to settle for beating up the rest of the Top 15 to keep busy. I know the word “gatekeeper” has somewhat of a negative connotation but if we’re being honest, Holloway is the gate one should expect to pass through in hopes of securing a crack at the featherweight crown. Losing to “Blessed” did little to deter Yair Rodriguez, who was able to benefit from good timing — and a big victory when he needed it — to lay claim to Volkanovski’s long held throne. We’re unlikely to see another Holloway title fight unless Rodriguez upsets “The Great” and the Hawaiian manages to turn away streaking 145-pound hopeful Arnold Allen. Based on what we’ve seen thus far from the “Almighty” contender, that may be easier said that done.

Allen joined the promotion on the strength of a 9-1 run on the international circuit, then continued his winning ways as part of the promotion's talent-rich featherweight division. To date, Allen is a perfect 10-0 inside the Octagon with four finishes, including his technical knockout stoppage of Calvin Kattar at UFC Vegas 63. The counter to those accolades starts with Kattar blowing out his knee and continues with strength of opposition; which in fairness, has not been Holloway-esque in his ascension. But is such a thing possible? “Blessed” has distanced himself from the pack with an unyielding (and somewhat superhuman) barrage of punches from fight-to-fight, setting a couple of UFC records along the way. I’m not sure there is anything Allen can do to accurately prepare for that kind of prolonged assault except to wait and hope he gets booked just as Father Time catches up to the former champion.

There’s no evidence to suggest Holloway is slowing down and we’ve yet to see any cracks in the foundation. But when great fighters fall, they fall hard, and “Blessed” — who averages an alarming five significant strikes absorbed per minute — is eventually going to fold (much like Frankie Edgar did in early 2018, setting off a rapid and uncomfortable decline). I’m not a doctor and I don’t own a crystal ball so for now, we can only work with what we’ve seen and Holloway has been electric. He’s also just 31, a mere two years older than Allen. “Almighty” has demonstrated (by sheer skill) that he belongs at the top of the division and I expect this to be a close fight. I just can’t make a solid case for the upset — sans collapse from the former champ — when Holloway nearly overthrew Volkanovski his last time out. Allen can do it all inside the cage but so can “Blessed,” just better and against better competition.

Prediction: Holloway def. Allen by unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo

Edson Barboza

Record: 22-11 | Age: 37 | Betting line: +140
Wins: 13 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 4 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 5 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.96 | Striking accuracy: 44%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.10 | Striking Defense: 58%
Takedown Average: 0.38 (44% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: No. 14 | Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Bryce Mitchell

Billy Quarantillo

Record: 17-4 | Age: 34 | Betting line: -165
Wins: 8 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’10“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 7.88 | Striking accuracy: 58%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.72 | Striking Defense: 40%
Takedown Average: 1.55 (24% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 58%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Alexander Hernandez

There’s a been a few times over the last couple of years when I thought Edson Barboza was completely washed and ready for life after combat sports, but the Brazilian would then somehow find a way to rattle off yet another highlight-reel knockout to keep himself in the game. Spectacular finishes over Dan Hooker and Shane Burgos come to mind, both of which served to erase the memory of recent losing streaks. That said, Barboza needs to pull one more rabbit out of his hat at UFC Kansas City because he’s coming off back-to-back losses to Giga Chikadze and Bryce Mitchell. In addition, he’s now 37 years old and dropped seven of his last 10. I don’t know what his contract looks like at this stage of his UFC career but it stands to reason there are only so many remaining losses before matchmakers say goodbye. I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I suggest Barboza is a striker by trade and will look to keep this fight standing, where he remains his most dangerous, though I can’t imagine his opponent will overlook the fact that the former lightweight has been taken down over 20 times in his UFC career.

Billy Quarantillo made a name for himself by starching Kamuela Kirk on Dana White’s “Contender Series” back in summer 2019, then jumped out to a torrid 3-0 start with two brutal finishes. When the competition started to get a little tougher, the wins were not as easy to come by and the Floridian has since gone 2-2. The good news is both of those victories ended by way of knockout and both garnered Quarantillo a pair of $50,000 performance bonuses. Not too shabby. It’s hard to call him a prospect at 34 years old, especially after he failed to make any noise on Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), but he’s certainly made the most of his time in the spotlight. Whether it’s a question of experience or maturity — perhaps a combination of both — Quarantillo is a dangerous featherweight who is likely to stand and bang with Barboza to prove he’s “that guy.” I think if he was facing the Barboza of yesteryear, who floored Beneil Dariush with a nasty knee, I might be more inclined to pick differently. At this stage of his career, particularly with the performance I witnessed against Chikadze, I’m not sure the old dog has any new tricks left in his bag. Expect a fun, action-packed fight that ends with Barboza’s chin folding under pressure.

Prediction: Quarantillo def. Barboza by technical knockout

Remember, the rest of the UFC Kansas City main card predictions are RIGHT HERE. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Kansas City fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 5:30 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 8:30 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Kansas City news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here and here. For the updated and finalized “Holloway vs. Allen” fight card and ESPN/ESPN+ lineup click here.

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