The UFC featherweight champion will leave his home at 145lbs in the hopes of adding interim-lightweight gold to his collection in the UFC 236 main-event.
Fights like these are what it’s all about.
The stakes are massive and potentially life-changing for the winner and the narrative is only helped by the fact that these two have already fought in the past.
Sure, the Holloway and Poirier who threw down at UFC 143 have been completely replaced by their more mature, modern counterparts, but their history only adds to a bout that could well be amongst the best fights we see all year.
With a shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight strap seemingly on the line, Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier will go to war in the UFC 236 main-event.
Max Holloway might not have cleared out the featherweight division entirely, but with wins over the best of the best at 145lbs and his ever-growing frame, there are very few who are begrudging him this move.
If all goes his way, chances are we never see the Hawaiian in the lighter weight-class again.
Recent history has shown the smaller fighters having an increased level of success once they forego a strenuous fight-week cut in favour of fighting closer to their natural weight.
We’ve seen it notably with Cyborg/Nunes, Miocic/Cormier, Thompson/Pettis, and in the recent run of UFC 236 co-main event headliner Kelvin Gastelum at middleweight.
There’s a good chance we’ll experience the best Max Holloway we’ve ever seen once Saturday night comes around.
The question will be how much success Dustin Poirier can have against him.
Poirier has been a fighter reborn since leaving the featherweight division and with his loss to Michael Johnson excluded, has found incredible success – despite his tendency to bite down and the mouthpiece and commit to some vicious brawls that were inadvisable from a tactical standpoint.
There has always been a question over Dustin’s ability to maintain his composure in the face of either an opportunity to finish or intense pressure from his opponent.
In this, the biggest fight of his life, his decisions in those moments will likely be what wins or loses it for him.
If the fight boils down to a shot-for-shot brawl, I’m favouring Max.
If it’s a slow and technical start, I’d back Blessed’s knack for turning up the heat to see him through.
I don’t even have confidence in Poirier’s ability to keep Holloway on his back if he does take the wrestling route.
This may seem as though I’m picking this as a landslide win for the featherweight champion but I’m really not. I just think he can edge out The Diamond in any of these battles.
Poirier has solid power at 155lbs, don’t get me wrong. And in those wild exchanges, he was comfortable enough to get the better of Eddie Alvarez – who brings more power to the table than his opponent Saturday will.
He does eat shots though and as we’ve seen in the past, once Max smells blood, he can begin to slowly bring proceedings to a boil.
I see Max looking better than ever at lightweight. The man is a champion through and through who has beaten some of the best fighters in the sport today.
As we all know, there are levels to this game – levels that separate the Holloway’s and the Khabib’s of the world from those even one ranked-spot below.
Expect Max to get this one done in the championship rounds.
Prediction: Max Holloway by fourth-round TKO.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena