Well, that’s settled. To many, a third fight between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski was a hard sell. After all, Volkanovski defeated “Blessed” to win the UFC featherweight title in 2019, then defeated him a second time last year in an instant rematch.
Done as dinner, right? No need for a third fight, even if their second meeting was a split decision that easily could have been scored for Holloway.
The UFC appeared ready to move on. Brian Ortega has the next title shot, this March at UFC 260. Calvin Kattar, paired up with Holloway at UFC Fight Island 7 on Saturday, appeared ready to face the winner — until Holloway completely dismantled him throughout five rounds.
“A lot of people, who we all respect and know a lot about this sport, picked Kattar to win tonight. And let’s give Kattar the respect he deserves too. It takes two to make a great fight,” UFC President Dana White observed after the fight, speaking during the post-fight press conference.
Holloway trash talking, and talking to the commentary team had White admit that “he’s fun. Holloway’s fun.” White was also blown away by reports that Holloway didn’t spar in fight camp for Kattar — news Holloway himself has confirmed.
The instant classic in Saturday’s main event now brings up the question of a third fight with the current champ again. If Volkanovski gets past Ortega, of course.
“I think we have to,” White admitted when asked about booking the fight. “When you’re the champion, you’ve got the top five guys in the world gunning at you. When you’re the number one contender in the world, you’ve got the top ten guys. Sometimes the number eight is more dangerous than number three.”
“Tonight, [Holloway] fought a bad dude that a lot of people though was going to beat him, and he went out and treated him like number six. He did what he needed to do in spectacular fashion tonight, and I think he deserves to fight Volkanovski again.”
How the timing works out remains to be see. And an Ortega win could, of course, set up a different rematch with “Blessed.” Either way, Max Holloway is in a good spot following UFC Fight Island 7. What a way to kick off 2021. Holloway, 29, improved to 22-6 with the unanimous decision win over Kattar. He came close to finishing the fight several times, with only the sheer grit of Kattar preventing the stoppage.
He appears to have earned himself a title shot as well.