Max Holloway lights up Calvin Kattar in one-sided thrashing on UFC's ABC debut

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·2 min read

Max Holloway put on the performance of a lifetime on Saturday. Already, he was widely regarded as the greatest featherweight in UFC history, but against Calvin Kattar on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, he raised his level to a place he’d never been.

Holloway earned another shot at the UFC featherweight title by overwhelming Kattar in their bout in the main event of the first combat sports event televised by ABC in two decades.

Holloway came sprinting out of the gate and mauled Kattar. He hit him with every shot that is legal to use and left his face a swollen, bruised, bloody and grotesque mess.

Holloway won 50-43 on two cards and 50-42 on the third, getting two 10-8 rounds from two of the judges and three from the third. Kattar’s toughness was incredible, as he absorbed a brutal body attack, punches and elbows to the face and kicks to the head, body and legs and never quit trying.

In a career filled with brilliant performances, though, this one was unmatched. It was reminiscent of his victory in Toronto in 2018 over Brian Ortega in a featherweight title fight.

He said he was fueled by several of what he felt were demeaning comments by Kattar in the build-up. Kattar called him a “freshman,” and Holloway said after, “There are freshmen and then there’s the freshman who beats you up and takes your girlfriend.”

Holloway was so dominant that in the final half of the final round, he started to showboat, a rarity for him. He was talking to his close friend, former double champion Daniel Cormier, who was calling the fight cageside.

Holloway earned a shot at the featherweight title that he previously held. Alexander Volkanovski, who took the belt from him at UFC 245 and defended it at UFC 251, will fight Ortega in March. UFC president Dana White said Holloway will get the winner.

But Holloway wants to stay active and he said he’ll stay in Abu Dhabi, and if any of the four lightweights in next week’s main and co-main events at UFC 257 — Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker — can’t fight, he wants to step in and fill the spot.

It’s a huge challenge, but if anyone is up to it, it’s Max Holloway

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 17: (L-R) Max Holloway punches Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
(L-R) Max Holloway punches Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on Jan. 17, 2021, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

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