With 90 seconds left Max Holloway turned away from his opponent, Calvin Kattarand told the Cageside broadcast team that he was the best boxer in the UFC. On ABC, the network that has been a home for boxing since the 1940s, Holloway has more than proven his point with his punches.
Holloway dominated Kattar by unanimous decision (50-43, 50-43, 50-42) on Saturday in one of the most one-sided major events in UFC history. Holloway is the former UFC featherweight champion and the most decorated 145-pound fighter of all time. Saturday’s fight was perhaps the best performance of his career at the UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi.
However, UFC President Dana White quickly turned down the idea, telling reporters that Holloway would be going home to rest. Still, White had nothing but praise for Holloway’s performance and called him “one of the greats in the fight”.
“I think people keep doubting Max and thinking, will old Max show up? The guy who lost a step and all of that?” Said White. “He just doesn’t. A lot of people we all respect and know a lot about the sport have chosen Kattar to win tonight. Let’s also give Kattar the respect he deserves. It takes two to have a great fight to lead. Incredible. “
Holloway could be next up for another title chance. White said he believes Holloway “deserves” another shot at the current welterweight champion Alexander VolkanovskiHolloway has lost two close fights against, but Holloway has to wait. Volkanovski’s next fight will come against it Brian Ortega On March 27 at UFC 260, sources shared Ariel Helwani of ESPN.
ESPN had Holloway # 2 and Kattar # 6 in the world at featherweight. The card was the first UFC event to air on ABC and the first to air on network television since 2018.
The scorecards were tied for the most one-sided in a five-round bout in UFC history along with a bout in between Rich Franklin and David Loiseau at UFC 58 in 2006. The 50-42 result was only the second in UFC history after Franklin against Loiseau.
Holloway has always been an exceptional striker. But he came out of the first round with a different kind of ferocity. Kattar landed a couple of nice knocks and hard right hands. But for each of them, Holloway returned with long, varied combinations, targeting the head, body, legs, and more. Holloway landed hard elbows and knees in the gut. The avid gamer was like a fighting video game character brought to life.
“If you’re not a Max Holloway fan, you’re a hater,” said Kattar. “Kid is a beast. Did what he had to do. Good luck to him and hopefully the next champion because he deserves another shot.”
The main event on Saturday broke several records. According to UFC Stats, Holloway posted a UFC record of 445 significant hits, breaking the previous 290 mark he set against Ortega at UFC 231. In addition to Kattar’s best 133 significant strikes of his career, the fight also set UFC records for combined significant strikes (578) and significant strike differentials (312).
Holloway’s 141 significant round 4 hits were also the most in a single round in UFC history.
The fight took place at the Etihad Arena in front of a limited number of fans, all of whom have gone through the COVID-19 protocols. It was the first paid audience to witness a UFC event since last March.
The crowd sang early for Holloway because of its storms. Kattar landed some nice combinations in the first round, but by the end of the round, Holloways took over the pressure and eclectic combinations for every body part. Holloway almost finished second on long combinations, but Kattar stayed strong despite getting bloody with one elbow late in the round. The only thing more impressive than Kattar’s toughness was Holloway’s stamina.
Holloway didn’t slow down at all in the late rounds. There were times when Kattar stared his feet against the cage and Holloway poured in one combination after another, but Referee Herb Dean didn’t stop it. Late on the fifth, Holloway began mocking Kattar, dropping his hands, and speaking to the comment section with amazing confidence.
“He looked like Muhammad Ali tonight,” former UFC double champion and ESPN analyst Daniel Cormier said on the broadcast. “Max Holloway floated and stung. It was amazing.”
Holloway (22-6) dropped Volkanovski two times in a row before this fight. Both fights were very close and many thought Holloway won the second at UFC 251 in July. Holloway, 29, is the most successful featherweight in UFC history. He held some form of the 145-pound title in the UFC from 2016 to 2019. Holloway, a native Hawaiian, has the most wins (17), the most KO / TKO wins (8), and the most stop wins (10) in UFC featherweight history.
Kattar (22-4) had won two in a row and four of his last five came in. The Massachusetts native has four placements in six UFC victories, known for his thrust and booming right hand. The 32-year-old Kattar won unanimously Dan Ige last July.