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UFC 251: Can Max Holloway beat Alexander Volkanovski?

03 Jul 2020

Max Holloway is getting an instant rematch against Alexander Volkanovski this weekend.

At the time of writing the fight's free on YouTube, and with the UFC's Facebook platform having recently shared the last ten seconds of Holloway's bout with Ricardo Lamas it made me wonder how many opportunities Holloway missed to catch Volkanovski as he pushed him back.

It's a great championship fight. Max uses his range a lot and this point just passed he's thrown an oblique kick, followed by a spinning back kick, followed by a body kick.

Watching the fight, there seems to be thought there were so many openings for Max to catch Volkanovski as he backs him up along the cage.

Because he uses his range well, it seems like there's many more opporunities for Holloway to mix things up for his opponent and second guess themselves, Volkanovski especially who looked to press forwards with kicks of his own.

Holloway's legs were beat up in the later rounds and whilst the Hawaiian did some beautiful work with his hands, landed crisp jabs and some hard shots to the body of Volkanovski that he just couldn't see coming - he took a lot of damage getting the loss.

In UFC title decisions, it's generally understood that if a fighter loses their championship in a title fight, then the loser's opponent's worked hard to get that decision.

Whether that would've stopped the featherweight challenger from rushing in, or taken emphasis from Holloway's ideal punching range (as an alternative turn of events) - it might've stopped Alexander offering his head as a means of getting inside and allowed Holloway more space to move forwards.

When Volkanovski got inside he was able to land big punches. There's a significant difference in the power of the two. It's hard to think that Holloway might be able to deal with the power Volkanovski holds and his forward pressure in those early rounds if he can't make Volkanovski think twice and create more space to build momentum to find his rhythm.