UFC Kansas City: Max Holloway Puts On Another Classic Performance Against Game Arnold Allen

Max Hollloway and Arnold Allen, UFC Kansas City ceremonial weigh-in
Max Hollloway and Arnold Allen, UFC Kansas City ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

Former UFC featherweight champion and future Hall of Famer Max Holloway was in action to cap off the night at UFC Kansas City, taking on the surging Arnold Allen.

Whether a title shot would ever be in the offing for Holloway while Alexander Volkanovski still held gold was very much up for debate (and frankly, unlikely). What was not up for debate was the popularity of the Hawaiian, who got a huge pop from the crowd at the T-Mobile Center while being announced moments after England’s Allen.

Allen, who had carried a 12-fight win streak, with 10 in the UFC, into the fight, opened the fight looking to work in his kicks — but quickly had a kick slide up the thigh, hitting Holloway square in the groin.

After a brief pause for Max to recover, they were back underway. Allen would land a heavy left, which Holloway ate; Allen chopped the lead leg of the ex-champ, while Max landed to the body. In the early going, the advantages were clear: Allen possessed considerably more power, having the edge there. Holloway had volume on his side, throwing in bunches and sometimes trailing those with a kick.

Round two saw Allen landing another big left in the opening minute, and the pair began trading at a frantic pace. Holloway would mix in some outside calf kicks, and switched stances occasionally, but the left hand for Allen remained a problem. That power kept Holloway at bay; the ex-champ still had his moments, and still threw with considerable volume when he did attack — but the attacks were spaced out more. Allen walked forward, though Holloway landed a cracking body kick in the final minute of the frame.

In what was quickly becoming another classic Max Holloway fight, it was right back to action in the third. The stance switches continued for Holloway. Allen stayed right in the Hawaiian’s face. All gas, no brakes seemed to be the rule of the day, and if there was an edge in grappling/wrestling, it didn’t seem to matter, as neither man had bothered to use it through the first half of the fight.

A low blow appeared to land on Allen with about 90 seconds to go; the ref appeared to miss it, but Holloway backed off anyway, giving Allen a moment to recover before the pair high-fived and continued. Allen was starting to show damage across his face, the volume of Holloway adding up and taking a toll. Max finished the round with a spinning backfist, and returned to his corner likely having taken the third.

Allen entered the fourth round for the first time in his career needing to turn the tide.  The damage was again showing on the Brit, as Holloway kept up his high-as-always pace. Later in the round, it was Allen putting the pressure on, coming close on more than one occasion with his powerful left hand and kicks. Holloway finished the round with a high kick; they slapped gloves and headed to their corners one last time.

Arnold Allen came out guns blazing in round five, taking the fight to Holloway early. A couple of solid shots landed for Allen, but Holloway held on, answering with an elbow, then a spinning elbow to the chin. Holloway ripped the body with a kick; Allen then clinched up, for just about the first time in the fight and much to the displeasure of the Kansas City fans, though it didn’t last long. Allen fired a left, then landed a head kick that was partially blocked.

As the round wore on, Allen continued to press, firing his left hand and kicks. Holloway fought more of a defensive round, though he adding in a spinning kick, and had to be careful not to be caught off a slip. In the final minute, Allen again clinched up, though in a round he was likely winning thanks to his aggression, the decision to hunt for a takedown was a bit of a puzzle. In the final ten seconds, however, they swung for the fences, with Holloway rocking Allen just before the bell!

On the scorecards, all three judges sided with Max Holloway, who simply refuses to go away quietly in the featherweight division.

Official Result: Max Holloway def. Arnold Allen by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)