If there was any doubt that Max Holloway remained a championship caliber featherweight heading into UFC on ABC 1, “Blessed” laid waste to those sentiments with a shellacking of Calvin Kattar in Saturday’s main event.
With a record-setting offensive performance, Holloway earned a lopsided unanimous verdict over one of the division’s rising contenders at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. In the process, the Hawaiian likely earned himself another shot at 145-pound gold – even if Alexander Volkanovski is still champion by the time that date arrives.
“I think we have to [give Holloway a trilogy with Volkanovski]. I think we have to,” White said at the UFC on ABC 1 post-fight press conference. “I mean, when you’re the champion, you have the top five guys in the world gunning at you. When you’re the No. 1 contender in the world, you’ve got the top 10 guys in the world. Sometimes, No. 8 is more dangerous than No. 3.
“Tonight, he fought a bad dude that a lot of people thought was going to beat him. He went out and treated him like No. 6, so he did what he needed to do in spectacular fashion tonight. I think that he deserves to fight Volkanovski again.”
Of course, Volkanovski must first get past Brian Ortega in the UFC 260 co-main event on March 27. If that happens, another showdown with Holloway could await. Volkanovski defeated Holloway via unanimous decision to claim the featherweight crown at UFC 245. While that verdict wasn’t disputed, his split-decision triumph over Holloway in their rematch at UFC 251 was highly controversial. Many observers – along with Holloway himself – thought the Hawaiian deserved to get the nod in that bout.
Volkanovski initially balked at the notion of a third meeting with Holloway, pointing to his 2-0 record against the former champion. Now, however, White says the circumstances have changed.
“Listen, he’s got this Ortega fight coming up,” White said. “I think for a guy like him to watch this fight tonight when he’s the No. 1 contender – and like I said to you guys tonight, a lot of people whom I respect thought Calvin Kattar was going to win this fight tonight – the way that he looked, Volkanovski can’t even deny Max deserves another shot.”
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