Las Vegas – Max Holloway must be under a lot of pressure.
On Saturday, June 25, he sat in the T-Mobile Arena for the first time since facing Alexander Volkanovsky for the third time in UFC 276, and Holloway (23-6) for the first time since December 2019, when he surrendered to the featherweight Volkanovsky Championship unanimously decided at its first meeting. The trio will also be at the T-Mobile Arena next weekend.
But Holloway leans to one of the 20,000 seats that will be filled by the crowd that sold out on Saturday, without experiencing any extra nerves.
With the first fight in 2019 so close – and Holloway has become a major champion – the UFC booked an emergency rematch on Fight Island in July 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic. Holloway lost again in an empty field, in a split decision that was even closer than before.
Holloway never complained about the score of five rounds of battle, but when asked how he felt after each round, he answered honestly.
“Exactly, both times [I thought I did enough to win]Holloway told ESPN. “But as the wise man once said, that was it.”
In the last two years, Holloway has pushed the issue of a third meeting against Volkanowski. It’s extremely difficult to do this in a game of war, forcing you to fight a third battle against an opponent you’ve already defeated twice – but Holloway defeated Calvin Cutter and Jair Rodriguez in the same fight in a historic attack. They made a simple call. . Candidates of the Year, both are fighting in 2021.
But with the third meeting, Should There is a lot of oppression. Before losing to Volkanowski in 2019, Holloway was almost unanimously named the best featherweight ever and was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. If he loses for the third time in a row, his legacy – especially at 5 145 – will be changed forever.
“You guys always talk about who you want to lose,” Holloway said. “Respectfully, I feel like I have to lose every fight. I always say I’m 0-0 and this fight is no different. I am taking this battle in such a way that it will be my first and last. We don’t know what happened after that. We don’t know if I’ll ever fight again. You don’t really know
“That’s how I’m coming to him and the fans are there for the treat.”
Max Holloway analyzes what happened when he lost the featherweight title to Alexander Volkanowski in UFC 245.
He is definitely right about that. Volkanowski is ESPN’s No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Holloway is number 6. It is rare for two of the best fighters in the world to be in the same weight class and square off three times in three years.
While not complaining about his first two match scorecards, Holloway has said he should never leave the fight in the hands of a judge – but correcting it is not an easy “mistake.” Volkanowski has been fighting professionally since 2012 and has only finished once – in his fourth pro fight.
“It’s easier said than done at any level of battle,” Holloway concluded. “And when you have people like me and Alex, who are number 1 and 2 in the weight class and maybe the world’s pound-behind-pound list, it’s hard to do. But you go from there and finish it.
“I’ve done 10 rounds with this guy. We’ll be lucky if we go beyond three of these.”
Chris Dagget, Holloway’s longtime manager, acknowledged the claims were high from a business standpoint on Saturday, but said it was not uncommon for Holloway. The Hawaiian team has gotten used to the idea of looking at Holloway’s career from both a long-term and short-term perspective.
“Everything with Max, be it finance, his family, his brand, his partnerships, his charities, his health – these are all long-term things,” Dagget said. “But when it comes to combat, everything is short-lived. We’re looking three feet ahead and that’s it. So in that sense, everything seems to be in order. We put everything on the table. Moreover, we know that no matter what, two weeks from now, Max is still Max. This sounds like a paradox, but in reality, in the short term, everything is in danger, but in a couple of weeks from now everything will be fine and we understand that. ”
It’s been two and a half years since the Battle of Holloway at the T-Mobile Arena. His last three fights have been in epidemic restrictions as long as he has fought in front of fans. After the restrictions were lifted, Holloway said more than 60 members of his family and friends were moving from Hawaii to Las Vegas.
Despite Holloway’s 0-2 record against Volkanowski, he says he’s going into the trio with a champion mentality.
“I felt like a champion when I was 0-1 at the UFC,” Holloway said. “When I was 3-3 at the UFC, I felt like a champion fighting Will Chops for my pink slip. If you don’t think you’re the best, if you don’t believe you’re the best in the world, why are you here? That’s what helps me walk. “
For Holloway, it could really be just like any other fight – even if history remembers it more.