It seemed like an eternity, while it was really only three weeks, but the UFC is back, baby, with some action for us to bet on. This Saturday marks the promotion’s 2021 debut, and their return to the magical, mystical, mythical UFC Fight Island, with UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar.
While Fight Island will once again be on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this time they’ll be coming to us from the much larger Etihad Arena, where they plan on letting around 2,000 fans witness the event in the 18,000+ capacity arena. It is also a historic event for the organization because it marks their return to network television in the United States after over a two-year absence.
The main event of this weekend’s card pits two top featherweight contenders in a fight that could determine the next challenger to champion Alexander Volkanovski. Former champ Max Holloway enters the fight having dropped two straight to Volkanovski, and three of his last five fights. But, when you look at his resume, he has only fought elite killers for the past five years, so we can take his recent lack of success with a grain of salt.
As for Kattar, he’s won two-straight and four of five, and sports a stellar 6-2 record since joining the UFC in 2017. Four of those wins are via (T)KO, so Holloway needs to mind his p’s and q’s in any striking exchange the two get into. This is compounded by the fact that Holloway gets hit A LOT, and Kattar has a three-inch reach advantage over him.
Despite this, the former champ, Mad Max, is my pick in this one at
10/17. Holloway has the ever-important striking stats in his favour, and when you look at Kattar’s record, while impressive, one thing stands out – when he faces a step up in competition against the elite of the division, he has lost (Zabit Magomedsharipov and Renato Moicano). I’m riding with Max and hoping that the immense damage he’s taken over his career hasn’t taken too much of a toll yet.
Co-Main Event Will Be a Fun Scrap
The co-main event is a fight that would have been amazing about a decade ago but should still be a fun scrap. Grizzled veterans – and fan favourites – Carlos Condit and Matt Brown will square off in a welterweight tilt, in a fight that could be one – or both – of their swan songs. Condit won his last fight after dropping five-straight leading into it, while Brown hasn’t been much better lately himself, going 2-4. Condit is the pick at
8/15, but this one could seriously go either way.
This is a very, very chalky card, so it’s difficult to find a live dog for me to get behind. That being said, I do like one – that would be Nassourdine Imavov, currently sitting at
21/20 for his middleweight fight against Phil Hawes. The French fighter is six years younger, three inches taller, and has the striking stats in his favour heading into this weekend. He’s also undefeated in the UFC (ok fine, he’s only 1-0 but technically that is undefeated), while Hawes is 1-1 and took two shots on Dana White’s Contender Series before gaining entry to the big time.
While not an underdog, I also like Wu Yanan at
20/23 against Joselyne Edwards. Edwards will be making her UFC debut, and on short notice no less, and her resume is pretty shaky when you see the calibre of fighters she has faced. I think the Chinese fighter is a steal at this number.
*All odds correct at time of writing.