Going Into the Card
This weekend’s UFC Fight Night event will be taking place in Kansas City, Missouri, and currently features 14 scheduled bouts, none of which are bigger than the headliner: a featherweight showdown between Max Holloway and Arnold Allen. Holloway will be fighting for the first time since a disheartening third loss to Alexander Volkanovski last summer in their rivalry for the UFC Featherweight title, while Allen will be looking to extend his 10-0 start with the promotion by knocking off one of the legends of the division.
Flying Fists of Holloway
Holloway is 23-7 in his career, and despite his recent struggles against Volkanovski, he is still one of the most dominant forces in the division. He has faced a gauntlet of the best competition in both the featherweight and lightweight divisions while racking up some very impressive records within the promotion along the way.
Holloway has the third-highest total fight time inside the octagon in the promotion’s history at a total of 6 hours, 50 minutes, and 47 seconds. He also holds the record for most significant strikes in the company's history with a ridiculous 2,975 total, which is 1,174 strikes higher than number two on the list (Frankie Edgar).
Can Allen Continue the Winning Streak?
Meanwhile, Allen is 19-1 as a professional and has gotten off to an incredibly hot start with the promotion by winning his first ten fights heading into this weekend. He is coming off back-to-back stoppage victories and a decisive win over Holloway would almost certainly earn him the next title shot in the division against the winner of Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez when they meet to unify titles at UFC 290 in July. Arnold’s ten-fight winning streak is the second longest in the promotion currently, only behind UFC Lightweight champ Islam Makhachev (12).
Since neither one of these fighters are particularly big on chasing takedowns, I expect this fight to stay mostly on the feet, where I think Holloway will have a sizable advantage over Allen. Holloway lands 7.24 significant strikes per minute, which is over twice as much output as Allen, who lands 3.40 significant strikes in the same timeframe.
Holloway will also have a sizable advantage when it comes to the level of competition the two fighters have faced during their UFC tenures and an even larger gap in “championship round” experience (competing in fights that go longer than the usual 15 minutes and include fourth and fifth rounds). Each of Holloway’s past seven fights has gone the full 25-minute distance, while Allen has never competed beyond the third round in the UFC.
Both of these fighters are extremely durable with only one stoppage loss in 50 combined professional fights between the two, which suggests that this one will likely go on for a bit. Despite the fact Allen doesn’t have experience in the fourth or fifth rounds, there’s no reason to think he will have any major cardio issues or anything like that in the latter rounds.
Although Allen might find some success early in this fight, I think Holloway will pull away as the minutes tick on in this one and he will pick up rounds on the judge’s scorecards with his superior striking as the fight progresses. I expect this one to likely go the distance and think Holloway will be the one getting his hand raised after a unanimous decision from the judges.
Pick: Max Holloway (-196)
Recommended Props: Holloway R4/R5/Decision (+120) and Holloway by Points (+180)
Listed betting lines for this fight are via FanDuel Sportsbook