In December 2018, FOX televised a UFC card for the final time. That’s also the last time that the world’s premier MMA organization aired on network TV. That changes on Saturday, when Max Holloway battles Calvin Kattar in the main event of UFC on ABC 1.
The card also represents the UFC’s return to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, where fans will get to attend fights live for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns began.
Holloway Takes Momentary Break from Title Fights
Holloway (21-6) hasn’t fought in a non-title bout since 2016, when he beat Ricardo Lamas before his first shot at the featherweight championship. After he stopped Anthony Pettis to win the crown at UFC 206 in December 2016 to win the interim title, he went on to take the unified championship from Jose Aldo the next year.
Holloway would go on to successfully defend that title three times, though he did lose a lightweight title fight to Dustin Poirier in 2019. Alexander Volkanovski won the featherweight crown from him in 2019 by unanimous decision, then held on to it in a rematch last July, winning via a controversial split decision.
|UFC on ABC Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Max Holloway: -162||Calvin Kattar: +138|
|Carlos Condit: -177||Matt Brown: +145|
|Santiago Ponzinibbio: -305||Li Jingliang: +240|
|Joaquin Buckley: -278||Alessio Di Chirico: +215|
|Punahele Soriano: +130||Dusko Todorovic: -159|
Now temporarily out of the title picture – though he still holds the No. 1 contender ranking in the featherweight division – Holloway wants to show that he’s still the man to beat at 145 pounds. He always wants to show that he’s not the one-trick pony some have made him out to be.
“People talk about my boxing a lot,” Holloway said, via the South China Morning Post. “I just can’t wait to go in there and mix it up. This is MMA. My jiu-jitsu is a whole different part of my game that people don’t really get to see. I love jiu-jitsu. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Adjustments Could Prove Key for Both Fighters
Kattar (22-4) sits in the No. 6 ranking in the UFC featherweight division. He has won four of his past five fights, last earning a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige in July 2020. That run now culminates in a shot against one of the top UFC featherweights of all time, and a likely title shot if he can find a way to get the win.
“Right now, I’m just not satisfied,” Kattar told UFC.com. “I’ve got too many things I want and, like I always tell these guys, it’s not how I fight that makes me a problem for these guys; it’s why I fight and what I fight for. I think a fighter fighting with a sense of purpose is the most dangerous fighter you can be across from in the Octagon and I bring that every time I step in there.”
Indeed, Kattar should pose problems for Holloway on Saturday night. Both men have well-rounded games and the ability to make adjustments, meaning this could come down to who finds a winning game plan on the fly. Holloway enters the fight as a -162 favorite over Kattar (+138), according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Two welterweight fights also take prominent positions on the ABC card. Carolos Condit (-177) takes on Matt Brown (+145) in the co-main event, while Santiago Ponzinibbio (-305) battles Li Jingliang (+240) earlier on the main card.