Max Holloway seizes the moment on UFC Fight Island

Maybe Allen Iverson was right after all. This practice may be overstated.

Or, in the case of MMA, maybe the fight is overrated.

Max Holloway told me Wednesday that he hadn’t trained for a fight for the second week in a row.

Although other fighters do it, it is not common in this sport. Most fighters swear by it and say it keeps them alive for the big fight.

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For the first time, Holloway did not train for his bout against Alexander Volkanovski in July. Yes, he lost that fight, but many people, including myself, thought he had won. He was very handsome, especially in the beginning. This performance is nothing compared to what he did Saturday night against Calvin Kattar.

This fight was one of the best performances of Holloway’s brilliant career, and that’s saying a lot because it has given us many classics over the years. Exit, determination, willpower, punching, gossiping. It was a masterpiece. As I type this almost an hour later, I’m still freaking out.

That’s all that started on the UFC Network on Fox over nine years ago – Kane Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos was not. A full-on battle between two of the best in the sport. I think after the first round, fans across America called their friends and told them to put it on. That’s the beauty of network television. Of course, fans were prepared for this nine years ago, but dos Santos didn’t give them the time they needed and scored a 64-second knockout.

Error! The file name is not specified. Max Holloway lost in two fights to Calvin Katter at Fight Island. Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Look at this: Holloway recorded a CFU record 445 major strikes. Holloway got 141 significant hits in the fourth round, beating his own record for hits in one round (134 in the fourth round against Brian Ortega in 2018). Only Holloway set the record for the highest number of hits, but for Cattar it was 578, beating the previous Holloway-Ortega record of 400.

It’s really incredible, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

You can’t tell the story of this fight without talking about Kattar’s heart and will. The fact that he survived the 25 minutes was unrealistic. I thought the fight would be stopped at some point during each of the five rounds, but it kept coming. And he kept fighting.

There was a lot of talk about Team Cattara, the New England cartel, before this fight. Their head coach Tyson Chartier is one of the best in the game, but I think the fight should have been stopped in the fourth round. Cattar’s damage so far has been immense, and it’s clear he wasn’t going to beat Holloway.

It’s the kind of wrestling that can change an athlete’s life, and I sincerely hope Kattar returns to the form he had before, because it was the best race of his career. So well, in fact, that there have been rumors that Kattar would have a chance to win the title after beating Holloway.

Does that mean Holloway will now fight for the belt?

Error! The file name is not specified. Only 445 Max Holloway significant moves set the record for the most significant moves in a UFC fight. Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

As Ortega Volkanowski on the 27th. Mars struck, the answer should be a resounding yes. I don’t doubt it. Holloway has already defeated Ortega. Easy revenge.

But what happens if Volkanovsky wins? After all, he’s already gone 2-0 against Holloway.

Normally I would be strongly opposed to an immediate third bout, just as I was strongly opposed to Joseph Benavidez facing Demetrious Johnson a third time after losing 0-2 to the then heavyweight champion in the past.

The difference is that Johnson knocked out Benavidez in the first round of their second bout, while Holloway defeated Volkanovski for perhaps the last time in a hard-fought fight that resulted in a decision.

You’re not seriously telling me that you don’t want to see this Holloway, who is still a little 29, fight over the belt again? Yes, of course. Yeah, me too.

And hopefully Holloway doesn’t cut it off first.

The Cleveland Browns dealt a similar blow to their rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, last weekend after not training all week, and now Holloway is doing it on the biggest stage possible.

Training and sparring seem to be completely overrated.

Allen Iverson was right.

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