Max Holloway will be looking to erase a tough loss from his system as he looks for a vital victory against a surging contender hungry for his own title shot in Arnold Allen at UFC Kansas City.
If @BlessedMMA points at the ground – DON'T BLINK 💥
Catch Holloway in action Saturday night at #UFCKansasCity!
— UFC (@ufc) April 12, 2023
Where does someone as talented as Max Holloway go from here?
He is historically one of the greatest champions in not only the history of the featherweight division but the entire UFC of all-time. He previously tied the record set by several legends of the sport (Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Khabib Nurmagomedov to name a few) with thirteen consecutive victories in the UFC. If that’s not enough, he is considered one of the most popular stars in the sport who continues to command a massive fan-base that shows their support with their wallets when he competes on pay-per-view.
But three losses to the current champion is what it is, or so Holloway would say. While he is the consensus top choice to challenge for the title should Alexander Volkanovski fall from his perch, Holloway must now contend with a new cast of characters all eager for their own shot at the throne that for now is out of reach for him. It is an unenviable position, but he is a veteran who knows things change quickly in mixed martial arts. In a sport with as many variables as MMA, it is not a given that a shake up could occur at the top of his most optimal weight class. With that in mind, a dominant performance remains as important as ever to maintaining his status as one of the best featherweights in the world and possibly contend for the title again.
Flashback to the biggest win of @ArnoldBFA's career 👊
He's coming to top it Saturday night at #UFCKansasCity!
— UFC (@ufc) April 11, 2023
Arnold Allen could be the biggest beneficiary of the new status quo at featherweight. The Englishman has struggled for the better part of the decade with a litany of injuries that have relegated him to an average of two fights per year that has kept him from gaining momentum. Regardless of how slow he has accumulated them, however, “Almighty” is on a twelve fight win-streak and on Saturday could reach the previously noted benchmark of thirteen. Furthermore, a victory over a big name like Holloway would be enough to throw down the gauntlet at the feet of the winner of the upcoming fight between champions Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez for a title fight late this year or early next year. Throw in the fact that the UFC is building a stronger presence in the UK than before, and it could be things happening at the perfect time for Allen.
While the x-factor of how the former champion may or may not be affected by his previous loss is the prevalent question going into the fight, Allen must also show that he has done the work in the gym to be in proper form. Though he was inconsistent with getting into the cage going into 2022, it did prove to be one of his best years as he throttled veteran Dan Hooker and looked dialed in before Calvin Kattar suffered an injury in their bout. If actually putting it all together inside the cage is the biggest test of one’s training, then we may not feel as if we’ve seen enough from Allen to determine if he is indeed ready for this level. But if his most recent performances are any indication, he should be as respected as any fighter at the top of the division to give problems to even the best version of Holloway.
— UFC (@ufc) April 14, 2023
Should Holloway be victorious, he will likely need to seek another opponent either lower ranked at featherweight or perhaps even another venture up to lightweight for the first time since 2019. While an immediate title shot would not be out of the question should Yair Rodriguez topple Volkanovski (especially considering Holloway has a win over Rodriguez,) most would expect a rematch between the two and the Hawaiian would be left to stay busy in the interim. For Allen, a title shot against either man would be well-earned and he could elect to wait for the champion become available regardless if it is an extended wait.