The UFC is churning out a lot of cards as the year wraps up, so many that it’s almost hard to keep track if you’re not a diehard fight fan. This weekend’s doubleheader has plenty of great bouts, but the one that stands head and shoulders above the rest is obviously the interim title fight between #AnthonyPettis and #MaxHolloway.
If ever there was a fight where the guys were so stylistically well-matched for each other, I’d be hard-pressed to find it. These two are guaranteed to put out an action-packed barn-burner the likes of which we won’t forget anytime soon.
You’ve got the lightning quick, flashy Pettis, who has the unique ability to size up everything in the cage at a glance. Think of the Six-Million Dollar Man’s bionic eye surveying everything through the crosshairs. He can find openings and capitalize on them in the blink of an eye.
Then you’ve got the evolving technical machine that is Max Holloway. He’s got speed, but he’s not quite as fast as Pettis. His patience and excellent use of that long, rangy body belies the fact that he’s only been in the sport for six years.
Pettis is a highlight reel on two legs. Nobody will ever forget his famous “Showtime Kick,” which is a perfect example of his ability to use anything he can to win a fight. He sized up what his options were, saw the cage as a tool that could be utilized like a springboard and before you know it, Ben Henderson is on the floor.
That was more than just sizing up the moment, though. It took a bit of ingenuity and the ability to think outside the box to make that kick come to fruition. This kid is also fast, and he changes levels pretty fluidly, also. The trick for him is to maintain his distance so he can keep that high kick flying.
He’s pretty damn good on the ground, so if the fight ends up on the ground, it’s not like he’s going to be at a disadvantage there. He’s pretty close to Holloway’s size, and likely won’t be out of his depth at any point in this fight.
Holloway is a very technical striker who just gets better with every fight. He’s patient during the first round, sizing up his opponents, but by the end of that first, and moving into the second, he’s got you figured out, and that’s when he cranks it up. Those three punch combinations become fives and he’s mixing in kicks with them.
He fights long, which is perfect for his frame, and he’s got good pop at the end of his jab. He has excellent defense and manages to avoid any significant punishment in his outings. As a matter of fact, his defense is much better than Pettis’, which could make for a long night for Anthony.
The mental edge is going to be a big factor in this fight, and I think Holloway has that cornered, as well. When you’re riding a nine-fight win streak, it kind of goes without saying that confidence will be on your side.
Overall, this is a really tough pick to make. These guys match up so well with each other, and each have their advantages. I guess if I had to lean in any direction, I’d lean, ever so slightly, with Holloway.