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Max Holloway – Top 3 Greatest Performances

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‘I’m the best boxer in the UFCyelled former featherweight champion, Max Holloway during his dismantling of top contender, Calvin Kattar. Breaking all sorts of striking records on his way to a dominant victory (a 50-42 scorecard included), Holloway proved that he is elite when it comes to featherweights in the UFC. The former champion, interim lightweight title contender, candidate for MMASucka’s BMF and overall ‘good guy’, Holloway proved once again that he is one to be reckoned with at 145lbs. We take a look at Max Holloway’s three best performances throughout his career.

Max Holloway – Greatest Performances

3 – UFC 206 – Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis (Interim Featherweight Title bout)

TORONTO, CANADA – DECEMBER 10: (R-L) Max Holloway kicks Anthony Pettis in their interim UFC featherweight championship bout during the UFC 206 event inside the Air Canada Centre on December 10, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The scene was set for two dynamic strikers to take to the octagon in pursuit of the interim featherweight title. Although Anthony Pettis missed weight and wasn’t eligible for the belt, the occasion was still huge. Riding a nine-fight winning streak, Max Holloway finally had his first shot at gold in the UFC. Former lightweight champion, Pettis was only 1-0 at the weight but impressed in his maiden fight at the weight.

The first round saw a feeling out process, Pettis tried his flashy strikes to no avail. Holloway countered well, was able to land on Pettis and began to find his range. The second round began with ‘Blessed’ becoming the aggressor, leading the dance and dropping Pettis with a straight just 28 seconds into the round. Following the knockdown, Holloway reverted back to countering, stinging Pettis whenever he entered, ripping to the body and staying in the pocket just long enough to land the more significant strikes.

The third round started with Pettis landing a lot of low kicks, attempting high kicks and being very much on the front foot again. Following a low blow, Holloway became the aggressor, landing a beautiful sweep, flooring Pettis. The bodywork in the first two rounds paid dividends, with Holloway again landing a sweep late in the third on a fatigued Pettis. A spinning back kick to the body, a pair of roundhouse kicks, again to the body and a flurry saw Max Holloway lift his first UFC belt.

2 – UFC 231 – Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega (Featherweight Title bout)

TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 8: Max Holloway of the United States fights against Brian Ortega (L) of the United States in a featherweight bout during the UFC 231 event at Scotiabank Arena on December 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

This was a close, close call but slipped to second on the list. Max Holloway took on the undefeated Brian Ortega at UFC 206. There were many questions surrounding Holloway coming into this bout after he was pulled from a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov due to weight cutting issues earlier in the year as well as a cancelled bout with Ortega due to concussion-like symptoms. Ortega, then 14-0 had just become the first person to finish Frankie Edgar and surprised a lot of people by entering the fight as a favourite against the champion. What played out, however, would have bookies regretting their decision.

Holloway put on a striking clinic against Ortega. The first round saw Max Holloway both counter as well as lead against Ortega, constantly landing with power strikes as well as peppering him with constant shots. Having landed on Ortega, Holloway fakes wobbling, taunting his opponent and proving his superiority. The second round was the story of the double jab, right hand. Max Holloway’s speed was far quicker than Ortega’s, allowing him to constantly and effortlessly land on the challenger. The champion busted open Ortega, waited for him to over-commit to strikes, countered and made him pay.

Although Ortega showed improvements in the third round, there was never a point where Holloway was in real danger. The fourth round was brutal. Holloway found another gear, went back to simple boxing combinations and slick movement, punishing Ortega. The pressure by Max Holloway was simply too much for Ortega to deal with, overwhelming him with constant strikes. Head-work, body-work and a nasty eye injury to Ortega saw a doctors stoppage at the end of the fourth.

Holloway landed 307 total strikes, of which 290 were significant. 244 of those significant strikes were to the head of Ortega. Round four alone saw Max Holloway land 134 significant strikes. It saw him break the record for most significant strikes landed in a single bout by a huge 52 strikes.

1- UFC on ABC 1 – Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar (Main Event)

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 17: (R-L) Max Holloway taunts Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Following back-to-back losses to current champion, Alexander Volkanovski, Max Holloway entered this fight with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Calvin Kattar had gone 2-0 in his last two, notching a finish and a five-round dominant victory. What played out saw Holloway cement himself as one the divisions elite.

Battering Kattar over five rounds, Holloway put on yet another striking masterclass. Again the pressure of Holloway ruined his opponent, landing constant strikes, including a spinning back-kick to the body, the former champion was again proving his superiority. ‘Blessed’ utilised step in elbows to rain down pain on Kattar, leading to a huge cut on top of Kattar’s head. A head kick almost ended it for Holloway at the end of the second. If the round had any more time Kattar may have been finished.

The third and fourth rounds saw Kattar’s back somewhat glued to the fence as he wasn’t able to push forwards at all due to Max Holloway’s constant pressure. Kattar was lucky Herb Dean didn’t stop the action in the fourth, the odd wild swing arguably kept him in it.

The fifth round saw ‘Blessed’ prove how blessed he is with elite boxing skills. The highlight of the round? Well, see for yourself…

Max Holloway broke all the records in this fight. He landed 445 significant strikes, 141 of which were in the fourth round. He attempted 744 strikes over the 25 minutes, an average of one every two seconds… let that sink in. The greatest performance of his career and a contender for greatest ever UFC performance.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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