Mixed martial arts returns to Fight Island in January, and a UFC featherweight title contender between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar is one of the biggest attractions to take place this month.
Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar Prediction
Former featherweight champion Holloway (21-6) lost back-to-back title fights against Alexander Volkanovski and has everything to prove after winning just one of his last four bouts. ‘Blessed’ hasn’t allowed the level of competition to slip, however, as he takes on arguably the most hyped fighter in the division right now, Kattar (22-4).
‘The Boston Finisher’ has garnered a substantial following since he made his UFC debut in July 2017. Kattar has got the KO/TKO finish in four of his six victories since then, but a matchup against Holloway represents a step up in opposition, recognised by his +135 underdog odds at William Hill.
New Jersey bettors can wager on Holloway as the -160 moneyline favorite, but the real value in this bout looks as though it will lie in predicting the finish.
UFC on Fight Island 7 Info
Date: Saturday, January 16
Venue: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Viewing Info: ABC, UFC Fight Pass
Prelims: 5 p.m. ET (10 p.m. GMT)
Main Card: 8 p.m. ET (1 a.m. GMT)
Despite having one more fight to his professional record (not to mention 15 more fights in the UFC), 29-year-old Holloway is actually the younger fighter by a significant gap. Kattar, 32, didn’t earn his UFC debut until he was the age of his opponent, while Holloway has been earning experience among the elite since he was 20.
That experience pays dividends after a while, not to mention there’s a reason Holloway was afforded those chances so early on. Kattar has never been knocked out in his career—the only finish he’s lost was a submission defeat to James Jones in 2008—but he’s also never faced Max Holloway, or an opponent of his calibre.
MMA By The Numbers broke down two of the key striking stats heading into this bout, showing that Kattar generally absorbs more damage per bout while Holloway dishes out substantially more:
Average significant strikes landed per fight:— MMA By The Numbers (@NumbersMMA) January 11, 2021
Max Holloway – 94.5
Calvin Kattar – 60.5
Average significant strikes absorbed per fight:
Max Holloway – 66.0
Calvin Kattar – 68.4#UFCFightIsland7
That doesn’t make for good omens as far as The Boston Finisher is concerned, particularly as Holloway will be especially motivated to redefine his right for a featherweight title challenge, as commentator Jon Anik highlighted:
.@Jon_Anik talks upcoming #FightIsland7 main event between former champ Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar:— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) January 13, 2021
"I was the guy after Holloway/Volkanovski 2 who said, 'Man I'd hate to be Max Holloway's next opponent.'"
Watch full video: https://t.co/r7Q5KmS6zv pic.twitter.com/L71r5MLOYw
As such, +350 odds for Holloway to win via KO/TKO really don’t seem that far-fetched on paper. Kattar is yet to be finished, sure, but this is also the biggest fight of his career to date, making it the exact kind of stage on which we might see him suffer his first. One of the cleanest boxers in the UFC, he’ll be expected to stick his neck out to get the result over five rounds.
Granted, this distance hasn’t worked out for Holloway of late—each of his three recent losses were five-round decisions—but many argued he beat Volkanovski in at least one of those fights, while the other was a step up to fight Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title.
Here, we expect to see a return to the more dominant Holloway, the Holloway who finished Jose Aldo in back-to-back fights and caused a doctor’s stoppage against Brian Ortega. Kattar has momentum on his side, but more than that will be required to hold back Holloway on a rampage.
Prediction: Holloway via KO/TKO (+350)
Holloway vs. Kattar Moneyline Odds
Max Holloway: -160
Calvin Kattar: +135
Odds via William Hill NJ