Welcome to The Weekly Takedown, Sports activities Illustrated’s latest take a look at MMA. Each week, this column will provide perception and data on probably the most noteworthy tales within the combat world.
Table of Contents
Max Holloway: “I’m one of the best boxer within the UFC”
Max Holloway returns to the Octagon this Saturday for his first combat since January. That was when he made his community tv essential occasion debut, placing on a boxing clinic towards Calvin Kattar.
“It was an honor to combat on ABC,” mentioned Holloway. “The day after that combat was Muhammad Ali’s birthday, and I heard some folks examine me to him. I used to be tripping. That’s simply not proper. You may’t examine me to him. You may’t examine Ali to anybody.”
Except for reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, there are few comparisons between Holloway and the remainder of the division, both in or out of the cage. Earlier this week, UFC named Holloway the recipient of the Forrest Griffin Neighborhood Award. UFC and Toyo Tires, the corporate that presents the award, acknowledged Holloway’s work in the neighborhood, particularly in his hometown of Waianae, Hawaii.
“Shout to Toyo Tires and shout out to UFC,” mentioned Holloway, who’s a robust advocate of the Waianae Meals Financial institution. “I used to be speaking to my agent concerning the Boys & Ladies Membership in Waianae, and we’re donating the entire $25K to them. That’s to assist them within the subsequent step of life.”
As well as to all of his success exterior the cage, Holloway main-events this Saturday afternoon’s UFC Fight Night time card towards Yair Rodríguez. The 2 had been initially scheduled to combat in July, however that was postponed after Holloway suffered an damage that prevented him from competing.
“I did three coaching camps for this man,” mentioned Holloway. “The primary one, I received injured. Second, I did a mini one to make sure that my damage might uphold the coaching, and it did. Then we began the actual one. I had to pay quite a bit in coaching camp, and now it’s time to make another person pay. I can’t watch for Saturday.”
Holloway (22–6) is the highest ranked UFC featherweight contender, solely behind Volkanovski, who’s each champ and second general within the males’s pound-for-pound rankings. Volkanovski has twice defeated Holloway, as soon as by unanimous determination and one other by way of break up determination, and he’s coming off his most spectacular victory after defeating Brian Ortega at UFC 266 in September.
“Alex-Brian, that went precisely the best way I believed it will go,” mentioned Holloway, who has additionally defeated Ortega. “When there was a putting distance, the benefit went to Alex. Each time they received shut, I believed Brian would make the most of grabbing him up, and that’s what occurred.”
If Holloway is victorious towards Rodríguez (13–2, 1 NC), who’s ranked third within the division, then the pure development would doubtless be one other title bout towards Volkanovski.
“I don’t know the way Alex feels about that,” mentioned Holloway. “I didn’t get knocked down by Brian and I didn’t get wrapped up by Brian. However on the finish of the day, that win towards Brian was good for Alex. He received dropped and he received out of chokes, and he confirmed he might get by adversity. That’s a very good spotlight reel for him. That helps all of us—the larger he will get, the larger UFC will get, in order that’s good for all of us.”
Holloway additionally has historical past towards Conor McGregor, who he misplaced to in 2013, in addition to Dustin Poirier, who has notched two victories towards him (by way of submission in 2012 after which by unanimous determination in 2019). However Holloway defeated Charles Oliveira, the reigning light-weight champion, in 2015, leaving him loads of choices if he leaves the UFC Apex in Las Vegas this Saturday with a victory.
“I’ve received 5 title wins,” mentioned Holloway, referring to his mixed victories both profitable or defending the featherweight title. “A sixth title win, and doing it towards Alex, that may be nice. However we’ll see. I’ve a win over the 155-pound champ [Oliveira] proper now. Conor is all the time on the brief checklist. I’m one of the best boxer within the UFC. Use your creativeness. You by no means know what goes to occur.”
Though he has not displayed his brilliance within the cage for almost 9 full months, Holloway expressed confidence that this Saturday will likely be a spectacular return.
“To be one of the best, you’ve received to beat one of the best, and one of the best is blessed,” mentioned Holloway. “I can’t wait to go in there and remind everybody we’re residing within the ‘Blessed’ period and we’ll hold the Blessed Specific chugging alongside.”
Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev ought to headline UFC 269 in December
Leon Edwards goes to have to watch for his “three piece with the soda.”
Jorge Masvidal suffered an undisclosed damage in coaching camp, eradicating him from subsequent month’s UFC 269 essential occasion towards Edwards. And whereas Edwards (19–3, 1 NC) has received his final 9 selections, tearing by opponents since his final defeat, it nonetheless seems he wants yet another win earlier than a rematch towards welterweight champ Kamaru Usman. Edwards’ final loss was a unanimous determination defeat to Usman in 2015, and he’s greater than deserving of a title shot. But, Edwards nonetheless has hurdles to bounce so as to attain Usman.
As for Masvidal, he was referred to as out this previous weekend by Colby Covington. On paper, that may be a big-drawing combat, and one which favors Covington–although Masvidal is definitely no stranger to being the underdog. However the query now turns into what occurs on December 11 at UFC 269. Undefeated dynamo Khamzat Chimaev (10–0) made a play to exchange Masvidal, and that pairing could be an ideal matchup to decide the subsequent opponent for Usman.
The best play for 269 is Edwards towards Chimaev. If Edwards wins, there isn’t any approach he may be denied a title shot. And if Chimaev emerges victorious, then we may have a brand new contender emerge for Usman’s belt.
The Decide ‘Em Part
Listed below are my picks for this weekend’s fights:
UFC featherweight bout: Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodríguez
Decide: Max Holloway
Bellator 271 essential occasion: Cris Cyborg vs. Sinead Kavanagh (o½)
UFC heavyweight bout: Ben Rothwell vs. Marcos Rogério De Lima
Decide: Ben Rothwell
UFC ladies’s featherweight bout: Felicia Spencer vs. Leah Letson
Decide: Felicia Spencer
UFC bantamweight bout: Music Yadong vs. Julio Arce
Decide: Music Yadong
UFC welterweight bout: Miguel Baeza vs. Khaos Williams
Decide: Miguel Baeza
Final week: 4–1
Present document: 45–25