One would have to wonder why a Hawaiian and a Brazilian are scheduled to fight in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, but this weekend’s UFC action is highlighted by a quality featherweight clash between Max Holloway and Charles Oliveira.
UFC Fight Night 74 – Main Card (Sunday night/Monday morning 2am BT Sport 2)
- Max Holloway (13-3) vs. Charles Oliveira (20-4, 1 NC)
- Neil Magny (15-4) vs. Erick Silva (18-5, 1 NC)
- Patrick Cote (21-9) vs. Josh Burkman (28-12)
- Chad Laprise (11-0) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (17-4)
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier (6-1) vs. Tony Sims (12-2)
- Maryna Moroz (6-0) vs. Valerie Letourneau (7-3)
The Main Event
The Hawaiian is probably best known for being the only fighter to go the distance with Conor McGregor in the UFC so far. That August 2013 bout, however, should not be his legacy. The 23 year old has gone on an absolute tear since that defeat, winning 6 fights in a row. This run, during which only one of his opponents survived to hear the final bell, has included victories over highly regarded fighters like Cole Miller and Cub Swanson.
Holloway is a very well rounded fighter.
While his stand-up might be his best attribute, he has secured 2 submission wins in his last 5. Still, he likes to engage in kickboxing matches where possible.
The young veteran can be a tough riddle to figure out on the feet as well. He utilizes a switch hitting style very effectively. It makes him a very elusive target, while also allowing him to create, and attack from, unusual angles.
Here is a video of the great Jack Slack analyzing Holloway’s stand-up game.
Holloway’s confusing movement, which keeps his opponent off balance, combines with his high strike output, weapon variation and potent pop to make him a very dangerous offensive fighter. This is evidenced by the fact that he has stopped 3 out of his last 5 opponents.
The UFC’s number 5 ranked featherweight contender is also very adept at going to the body, and understands the value of mixing in attacks down stairs when trying to finish opponents.
Here is a highlight video, for those of you unfamiliar with Holloway’s work.
“Do Bronx” is himself on a nice run of victories, having beaten his last 4 opponents. His two most recent wins came against quality operators Jeremy Stephens and Nick Lentz.
Oliveira has suffered 4 defeats in the UFC. All of those losses came during a messy 7 fight run between late 2010 and the summer of 2013. Each loss, however, came against high class opposition, as he was one of the toughest matched fighters in the entire UFC during that time. Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar are the four men responsible for inflicting defeat upon the Brazilian. A veritable “murderers row”.
Though Oliveira’s stand-up has been constantly improving his strength lies in his vaunted submission skills. 12 of the 25 year old’s 20 successes have come by way of submission, a stat that attests to the fact that he possesses one of the most potent ground games in all of MMA.
Skip to 13:35 to see his slick submission of the aforementioned Lentz.
Holloway will have no intention of entertaining Oliveira in a ground war. As solid as he is on the floor he knows that he is at the greatest risk in that position. Oliveira, on the other hand, will be looking to bring the action down to his world.
Given that Holloway has a 78% success rate at defending the take down, and Oliveira only has a 34% success rate in securing the take down, it seems unlikely that the Brazilian will have his way in the battle to dictate terms.
This means that a kickboxing match is the likely outcome. Unfortunately for Oliveira, there is only one winner in that department.
I see Holloway bamboozling a confused Oliveira with his movement and feints, while frequently tattooing him with combinations.
Holloway wins this one via 1st or 2nd round KO/TKO, to put himself closer to a title opportunity, and, potentially, the rematch he desires with Conor McGregor.