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UFC 206: Sleepy Holloway
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UFC 206 was supposed to be headlined by a rematch between current LHW champion Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, one of the scariest men to ever grace the octagon. Unfortunately, a groin injury forced DC to pull out of the fight, thereby moving the already action-packed fight between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis to the main event. That means Holloway gets 2 extra rounds to make sure he gets the next title shot at the featherweight title, currently held by….well, I’m not really sure. Officially, Jose Aldo is the champion due to the UFC stripping Conor McGregor’s previous title, but unofficially? We know McGregor’s the champ and probably wouldn’t have cut down to 145 anytime soon anyways. It’s still a pretty nice card, with several notable knockout artists such as Doo-Ho Choi, the always entertaining “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone, and the return of Jordan Mein after a year long retirement. It’s a solid card with many Canadian fighters wanting to take advantage of the hometown crowd, making for some pretty entertaining fights. Time to tip over some moose. Mooses? Meese? Hmm.

Dustin Ortiz vs Zach Makovsky

This is a fight between two shockingly similar fighters that can only end in a predictable manner – a good ol’ fashioned wrassle off! They’re both well-versed wrestlers with good to very good grappling skills, but lack a diverse striking array and can be a little repetitive at times. Neither one has an obvious edge over the other, as they’re both about the same size, have the same kind of speed, and neither really have any power. That can make for a difficult match-up to predict, but such is life in MMA.

Honestly, they’re both so similar that there’s no point talking about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Makovsky is probably the better striker, but not by much and neither have the power to get the edge in that department. They’re both adept wrestlers/grapplers, and I’d probably give the edge to Ortiz in grappling. It’ll be back and forth with tons of take-down attempts and scrambles, so there could be points to be had for the winner via take-downs, advances, and reverses. I think Makovsky is probably a little more well-rounded than Ortiz with better take-downs, so I’ll give the nod to “Bite Size”.

Makovsky via unanimous decision

Justin Saggo vs Rustam Khabilov

The matchup is almost similar to the previous fight, except with some important differences. Khabilov is significantly better than Saggo, despite both men generally preferring to take the fight to the mat. Saggo’s more of a traditional BJJ guy who has average to mediocre take-downs but can get it done from top control and has no striking to speak of. Khabilov has a little bit of striking but mostly relies on his Sambo to dominate his opponents ala Khabib Nurmagomedov, obviously to a lesser extent. It’ll still come down to who can get top control and doesn’t gas out.

Rustam Khabilov is just simply the better fighter. He has more range in his striking and the better wrestling (Sambo) than Saggo does. The grappling I’d say is about even, with maybe an edge to Saggo. The problem with Saggo is his lack of a stand-up of any kind. The dude looks slow and sluggish on the feet, taking every opportunity to get a level change and squirm his way into a take-down. That’s not a knock on Saggo as he does have some legitimate BJJ skills and can be very dangerous from top, but it’s completely predicable and will be facing Khabilov who’s already probably the better wrestler than him. I could see a round or two of Saggo trying to take down Khabilov unsuccessfully, gassing himself out (he’s got major cardio issues) and eventually either getting popped standing or just laid on by Rustam. Either way, it’s Khabilov’s fight to lose as the more talented fighter and having the much better take-down offense. A take-down clinic by Khabilov would boost his value on DK greatly as well. 14 take-downs in last 3 fights combined!

Khabilov via unanimous decision

Matthew Lopez vs Mitch Gagnon

Gagnon hasn’t fought since nearly 2 years ago against Renan Barao where he got submitted in the 3rd round after a tough fight against the former champ. He’ll be facing a solid prospect coming off a tough loss against Rani Yahya. Matthew Lopez has some promising talent,and if he’s able to finish Gagnon early, he’ll definitely get some hype on his side for the next fight. Gagnon was riding a 4 fight win streak before the Barao loss, so it may be time to remind people that Gagnon is a serious contender.

Lopez is a pretty strong southpaw, riding behind his overhands and good mechanics behind his striking. He’s got a nice blend of pushing the pace and chaining a power shot into a take-down, where he lets his ground game shine. Lopez has some pretty brutal ground and pound, with very opportunistic submission attempts that’s made him a fun fighter to watch and an early candidate for a Performance Of The Night bonus. However, he’ll be battling a similar type of fighter with much less power in Gagnon, who prefers speed and lunging attacks over power bombs. He does the same thing Lopez does with chaining his take-downs after a strike, but is a little more savvy with his take-down offense. He’s solid out of the clinch with more tricks up his sleeve than Lopez, which should serve him well during the inevitable scrambles they have. I would say they’re about the same level grappling wise, with Gagnon a little more technical and Lopez much more aggressive. It’ll come down to who can win the scrambling battles, and Lopez seems to be the bigger guy with the more powerful stand-up. Gagnon’s another ring rust guy on the card, and that’s always a big problem, but I think this may be a darkhorse for a finish by either man. Hmm….I think I may go with the upset for Matthew Lopez with an early round finish.

Lopez via 1st round TKO

John Makdessi vs Lando Vannata

Makdessi is one of the many Canadians on the card, with a couple training out of famed Canadian camp Tristar. He’ll be facing an interesting match-up against Lando Vannata, who had almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history when he dropped Tony Ferguson several times. That fight ended up being absolutely insane to watch and may be up for a Fight Of The Year award. It’s technical savvy versus brute power and unrelenting aggressiveness. Which style will prevail?

Vannata has a completely unique style of striking, often leaving his hands low and utilizing heavy footwork and head movement in order to find striking angles that many wouldn’t dare to try. He puts all his effort into every strike he tries to land, and Vannata is more of a one punch combo guy, often jumping from side to side. His style of fighting can be incredibly frustrating as Vannata is a constant moving target and seems to jump out of nowhere on some attacks.

Makdessi is one of the more technical strikers in the division, staying composed and trusts his process at recognizing patterns and countering effectively. He’s got a great 3 pronged attack – a stiff jab/straight, a great sidekick, and the headkick counter/change-up. Vannata’s biggest issues are both his utter lack of striking defense and gas tank. His constant movement and using up all his energy on almost every strike is very tiring and saps Vannata’s energy quickly. That’s something Makdessi can take advantage of, as he can turn on the volume at any moment’s notice if he feels the tide turning during the fight. Against Shane Campbell, Makdessi hurt Campbell and unloaded on him for a 1st round finish. The same could happen against Vannata if Makdessi starts picking him off with the straight and sidekick combo. It’s going to be a wild and crazy fight, with plenty of sig strikes thrown and a big opportunity for a finish for either guy. Vannata’s the small favorite, but I like Makdessi’s technical prowess over Vannata’s unorthodox striking. I could see a late finish for Makdessi against a completely gassed Vannata.

Makdessi via 3rd round TKO

Valerie Letourneau vs Viviane Pereira

Letourneau will be dropping to 115 pounds yet again, and pending the weight cut, should have a massive 7 inch height and 5 inch reach advantage on Pereira. Who is Viviane Pereira, you ask? Well, she’s an undefeated strawweight with a 11-0 record and has been a rising prospect in Brazilian MMA circles. She’s an aggressive striker and has some serious power for a strawweight, and the best comparison I can give Pereira is she’s basically mini Jessica Andrade. That height/reach disadvantage though? Whew.

Letourneau will obviously have a size advantage against Pereira, but she likely would have anyways considering she was a tweener, a big strawweight but not big enough for bantamweight. Letourneau has solid striking mechanics with a high volume output behind her strong boxing and kickboxing base. She’s very reliant on the left hook to start off any exchanges, and you’ll likely see that left hook counter landed quite often for Valerie. Not just a boxer by trade, Letourneau also mixes in kicks from all angles and likes using front kicks to create space and try to land counter-punches afterwards. She’s mostly a volume heavy boxer with underrated grappling that Letourneau only really utilizes when defending take-downs or gets into the clinch.

Pereira is quite literally Jessica Andrade, a stealthy but aggressive swinging and winging striker who absolutely destroys near the fence with pot shots everywhere. Of course you might say her competition is lacking big time, but the aggression and power is still there. Much like Andrade, Pereira excels from the clinch due to her diminutive build as she’s able to keep a low center of gravity and just simply swing away. Her ground game is equally frightening, as she’s vicious with her ground and pound but will jump at a submission opportunity. I’d be nervous for Letourneau if it weren’t for Valerie’s height/reach advantages.

Speaking of that advantage, that’s the key for Letourneau if she wants to survive the mini wrecking ball coming her way. Letourneau’s main weakness had been her lack of striking defense and movement, which could cost her against Pereira. If she’s able to circle away from Pereira’s pressure and bombard her with that left hook/straight combinations and get that jab going early, Letourneau could easily crack 100+ sig in 3 rounds. Of course, if she isn’t able to do any of that, it might be an early exit for the usually durable Letourneau. I smell an upset special, but I am going against my spidey senses and picking Letourneau by high output decision win. Oh, did I mention that she’s Canadian as well? I didn’t? Well, you know now!

Letourneau via unanimous decision

Drew Dober vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier

OAM will have the Canadian home crowd behind him, looking to continue his winning ways as he takes on Drew Dober, a fighter who doesn’t really excel in one area or another. Dober is a grinder in his own right, gritting his way for decision wins or upset finishes as he did in his 1st round KO over Jason Gonzalez. It’s a fight where OAM should have the easy advantage with his wrestling/grappling skills, but Dober is definitely a gamer and can’t be overlooked. Plus, he’s got a great punny name! The Doberman!

OAM has a wide southpaw stance and likes to lean on his long distance attacks, especially the sidekick. He’s not really anything special standing, but does enough to help flow with his take-down offense and clinch take-downs. His best strength is his suffocating top control game whenever the fight hits the ground. Dober will be at a size disadvantage, so he’ll have to rely on his speed and boxing to get within striking distance of OAM and avoid the take-down. That’s a tall task considering OAM is a very persistent wrestler and Dober does struggle against bigger opponents. It’s hard for me not to see Dober plastered on the mat for most of the fight since he’ll be jumping into OAM’s space often and might end up in the clinch more often than not. From there, it’s all OAM as he slithers his way into a back-take and gets the rear-naked choke on Dober. O’ Canada!

Aubin-Mercier via 3rd round RNC

Misha Cirkunov vs Nikita Krylov

Battle of the Ovies! These 2 men are likely the tipping scale at light-heavyweight, a division begging for talent and someone to finally step up as a legitimate contender. When a 39 year old LHW is still being ranked in the top 15, you know the division’s landscape is barren. Both fighters have their own strengths and weaknesses that counter-act each other, making it a very, very intriguing matchup. Cirkunov is a monster on the ground, with some very handy clinch take-downs and a smothering top control game. Krylov is very brash and aggressive on the feet, with some unique and sometimes acrobatic strikes that’s helped Krylov get a finish in every single one of his wins. Yes, he’s finished all of his opponents in his wins! ALL OF THEM! He’s also been finished in all of his losses. What I’m saying here is…..somebody gon’ get finished, yall!

Cirkunov is a big man at LHW with the strength to take down nearly anyone in the division. His clinch take-down offense is a thing of beauty, setting up trips and bodylock slams. It’s his bread and butter to get into the clinch, throw the guy down, and basically do whatever he wants from top control. Grind their face into mush, tear their limbs from the sockets, or just put on a transition clinic. That’s Misha’s biggest edge on Krylov who struggles mightily off his back and often leaves himself open to a reactionary take-down. Cirkunov has a functional striking game, but it’s just meat and potatoes compared to Krylov. Ion Cutelaba was able to consistently counter-strike Cirkunov and even hurt him a few times. It would be wise for Cirkunov to go ahead and get the fight to the ground.

Krylov is just a wild man. The guy puts on a stunning display of acrobatic kicks and relentless point blank attacks from the get-go. He’s got surprising accuracy on his punches and is willing to try unique attacks that seems like they wouldn’t work, but they do. What separates Krylov from the usual suspects that have an unpredictable striking game is his grappling. He’s got some Master of Sports background in both Kyokushin Karate and submission fighting so Krylov can sort of handle himself against those who wish to grapple. And by handle himself I mean he just guillotine chokes them. If he ever gets top control, it’s usually over as he’s very quick to find a dominant position and crank somebody’s neck. Krylov currently has  13 submission wins to go with 9 KO/TKO wins. Again, he’s finished all of his opponents in his wins and has been finished in all of his 4 losses.

An elite striker that’s completely unpredictable and probably insane in the head versus a technical, deliberate grappler with great clinch offense. What could go wrong? This is such a coin flip fight since both men have direct strengths that can overwhelm the other’s weaknesses. I don’t know. Krylov has been on fire lately and has looked unstoppable on the feet, with high arcing kicks and being able to control his space despite his aggression. Cirkunov is pretty big and Krylov’s aggression could end up helping Misha as it does mean an easier way to get into Krylov’s face. It’s probably going to be a finish for either one, but I’m a big fan of “Al Capone” and seeing how Cutelaba was able to pop Cirkunov a few times on the feet, I’m betting on Krylov doing the same thing.

Krylov via 2nd round KO

Emil Weber Meek vs Jordan Mein

Strange fight we got here. Jordan Mein came out of retirement because he missed punching people’s faces, and Meek was actually caught by the USADA and had his debut delayed until now. Meek may be best known for his early finish of notorious MMA fighter Rousimar Palhares, aka PAUL HARRIS! Mein hasn’t fought in over a year since his unfortunate 2nd round loss to a Thiago Alves body kick, but was one of the more promising young fighters in the WW division. Meek is a brawler who either finishes his guy or gets knocked out trying to knock out the guy trying to knock him out. You got all of that? Good. Let us begin.

It’s hard to say what Meek excels at, as many of his fights aren’t available to watch and the few ones I could find weren’t that noteworthy. At best, he’s a fearless swinger with a decently quick overhand and can take some punishment. He’s got good movement and countering ability, but he’s more of a typical average fighter with basic, fundamental boxing and a good frame. It’s still a good style to have against Mein for one reason only – Mein has a questionable chin and has been dropped or knocked out in previous fights. Mein is the much more talented fighter not only on a striking level but wrestling as well. Mein generally keeps fights on the feet and tries to stay at range and uncork some ridiculously powerful punch combinations. He’s got more speed than people realize and has an underrated blend of power and speed to his striking. Mein’s also strangely experienced for a young-ish fighter as he has 39 fights under his belt, with 16 KO.TKO wins out of his 29. I just think with Mein’s chin issues and Meek’s willingness to get into a brawl that Meek’s definitely worth a look at his discounted price on DK. Mein could very easily dominate Meek up and down the octagon with his technical boxing, maybe even get in a take-down and finish it on the ground with some GnP. Ring rust and chin issues though? Sigh, I guess I’ll stick with Mein just because of his talent.

Mein via 2nd round KO

Kelvin Gastelum vs Tim Kennedy

Here’s a quick backstory on how the fight materialized. Kennedy was slated to fight Rashad Evans TWICE, but due to some strange medical reasons, Evans was unable to get medically cleared to fight Kennedy in either instance. Gastelum was supposed to fight Cerrone on UFC 205, but came in overweight for a 170 pound fight (for the gazillionth time), causing Dana White to spew vitriol at the lack of professionalism form Gastelum. It may have very well been his last chance at fighting as a welterweight. The battle between Kennedy and Gastelum will be at middleweight, a weight class that Gastelum hadn’t fought in since his massacre of Nate Marquardt. That was over a year ago, so it’ll be interesting if a fatter Kelvin is the best kind of fat Kelvin. Only time will tell.

Tim Kennedy hasn’t fought since a very controversial fight against Yoel Romero over 2 years ago. I’ll spare the details of the fight and focus on Kennedy’s strengths and weaknesses. The guy is a tough military dude with endless cardio and a very good wrestling background. He’s a BJJ black belt but fights more like a wrestler who knows what to do from top control. His stand-up is a little basic, sitting back and relying on the jab/straight and landing effective counters. His main strength is his ability to scramble and make it a dirty fight near the fence. Kennedy likes to make fights turn into cardio battles and force opponents to tighten up their take-down defense. That will be his edge over Gastelum considering Kelvin’s long history of weight cutting and gas tank problems.

Gastelum also has a great wrestling background with the frame to be either a big middleweight or welterweight. Lately he’s focused on his striking more than his wrestling, and as a result I’m certain he will try to stand and trade against Kennedy for most of the fight. He’s a southpaw with a surprisingly decent 1-2 and employs a corner trap strategy as he walks down his opponents trying to instigate some counter-striking windows. His fight against Hendricks was a perfect example of cage pressure without over-pursuing his angles and being an effective counter-striker. That fight earned 124 sig strikes for Kelvin, and he was also able to stuff most of Hendricks’ take-down attempts, a feat rarely done by most. That bodes well for the fight against a similar opponent.

I don’t think Kennedy will want to keep the fight standing and allow Gastelum to get into a rhythm, battering Kennedy with the stiff jab repeatedly. He’ll want to get the fight to the fence where he can tire out Gastelum and force him to fight on Kennedy’s terms. Can Kennedy get a take-down and either fully control or find a way for a submission? I’m not sure, as no one has really been able to consistently keep him on the ground outside of the GOAT Neil Magny. Cardio issues aside, Gastelum is the better fighter with an increasing confidence in his boxing skills, and Kennedy’s coming off a 2+ year layoff. Ring rust is real folks, and unless Kennedy tires out Gastelum early, it’ll be tough for him to defend against Gastelum’s pressure and much quicker hands.

Gastelum via unanimous decision

Cub Swanson vs Doo-Ho Choi

There will be sparks flying in this fight, as both men are unique strikers with definite knockout power and have the aggression to match. Choi prefers to be a counter-striker, but is willing to go with the flow of the fight and get his knockout (12 KO/TKOs out of 15 wins). He’s also riding an impressive 3 fight winning streak in the UFC, all by 1st round KO/TKO. Swasnon has his own style that he’s aptly named “Beautiful Destruction”. The nickname should be enough to understand why. Swanson’s looked like a completely revamped and rejuvenated fighter since his back to back embarrassing losses to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway. He’ll have his hands full against the Korean Superboy, but one thing we do know will happen. It’s gonna be a beautiful battle.

Cub Swanson does a little bit of everything on the feet with no real rhyme or reason behind it, but his athletic ability and wide array of strikes has always made Swanson a difficult match-up to prepare for. He’ll suddenly jolt within striking range with a spinning roundhouse then follow it with a spinning backfist. Then he’ll delve back into calm Cub, staying at range and trying to counter-strike with his boxing. Point blank, the guy’s unpredictable and it would do him a disservice if I tried to lay out his gameplan. Just sit back and enjoy the Beautiful Destruction.

Doo-Ho Choi is a spectacular counter-striker with such a natural feel at sensing pressure and attacking defensive lapses by his opponents. He may turn into one of the best counter-strikers in the UFC, but he’ll have to deal with Swanson’s very unorthodox way of stand-up. Choi has a lethal right straight that’s got some shocking power behind it, but the name of the game is accuracy for him. It’s similar to how Conor McGregor has fought, relying on speed and precision over natural power and athleticism. Choi doesn’t just hit with the straight though, as his overhand and uppercut are all lightning quick in their own right. His 3 UFC fight win streak speaks for itself with 3 1st round KOs. Choi really is the Korean Superboy.

Obviously the fight comes down to whether or not Choi is able to read and react against Swanson’s Beautiful Destruction. I think Choi can truly become the McGregor of the division in some way with his precision countering style, but getting past Swanson will be roadblock number one. Number two will be defending any possible Swanson take-downs, as Choi doesn’t really seem to have much of a ground game defensively. He did a good job staying aware and climbing his way out of Thiago Tavares’ take-downs before the quick KO win, but actually getting taken down by an average level change was worrisome. Swanson is very durable and actually had a broken jaw against Max Holloway and still came guns a-blazing. I’m hesitant to say Choi continues his streak of 1st round finishes, so I’ll go ahead and put him down for a great decision win with a solid 60-70 sig effort, maybe with a couple knockdowns which would pad his DFS score since they are +10 on DK.

Choi via unanimous decision

Donald Cerrone vs Matt Brown

Cowboy Cerrone rides again, as he hauls ass to find yet another victim to annihilate and enforce his swift foot of justice. As mentioned before, Cerrone was supposed to fight Gastelum a month ago, but the MMA Violence gods deemed that match-up a little bit boring. Instead, he’ll be interlocking fists with fellow brawler and fan favorite Matt Brown. The uber aggressive, no-holds-barred Brown has always given the fans what they desire – a hands-on brawl between two foes where only one man may leave the octagon conscious. It’s a battle of whoever can take the 1st body attack and not crumple. Muay Thai Cowboy style versus old school fisticuffs and iron man jaw. Feed me right now.

I mean, what can you say about Donald Cerrone? The guy’s been an absolute beast at welterweight, and even before his move up to WW Cerrone had been busting people’s asses all over the lightweight division until he met the business end of a Rafael Dos Anjos body kick. The guy simply gets it done with his twist on classic Muay Thai, utilizing incredibly hard leg kicks and a feverish pace that allows Cowboy to string together combinations that are technically flawless and knock out even the strongest of chins. Cerrone is the master of patient aggression, as he is willing to bide his time then unleash everything at once. His sig strike output over the last fights looks like this – 45 sig and 2nd round KO/TKO, 73 sig and 3rd round KO/TKO, 4 sig and a 1st round triangle choke. Obviously the 3rd fight is an outlier, as the fight before that resulted in a 71 sig 2nd round KO/TKO win for Cerrone. Guy’s awesome.

Matt Brown is in a similar mold, but with more of a brawler’s mentality and does heavy damage from the clinch with elbows and nasty knees. Brown is known as the “Immortal” mostly due to his ability to take an ass-kicking and still somehow survive for an incredible win. He’s done it multiple times, and the Erick Silva fight is probably his most memorable one if you want to watch it. Brown’s primary means of offense is to run towards his opponents and see what happens. He’ll wing some hooks and add in a kick here and there, but his bread and butter is attacking from the clinch. His height (6’2) and strength allows Brown to stay in the clinch longer than usual, thrashing with slicing elbows and attacking their body with vicious knees. Occasionally he’ll try a take-down and get a submission from top control, but generally prefers to brawl.

It’s two guys who apparently don’t like each other (Brown has said several times he thinks Cerrone is fake and will expose him in the octagon) and already have an aggressive personalities as fighters. Cerrone’s got the edge with his Muay Thai and cleaner, more efficient striking while Brown’s got the chin of death plus his strong clinch offense. Cerrone usually never gets dominated in the clinch due to his Muay Thai background, so that’s probably not a real option for Brown. Here’s a secret wisdom bomb for the match-up: they’re both awful at taking body shots. Cerrone attacks the body quite often, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I like him for the finish. More diverse options for striking, probably better in the clinch, and utilizes plenty of body shots are all of Cerrone’s strengths that go against Brown’s weaknesses. It’s time for justice to prevail.

Cerrone via 1st round TKO

Anthony Pettis vs Max Holloway

Pettis’ drop to featherweight has been somewhat anti-climatic, struggling against Charles Oliveira and falling victim to the typical weaknesses that plagued him at lightweight. He was eventually able to hold off the surging Oliveira, submitting him with his patented guillotine choke. Pettis still looked pretty solid standing, with crisp and powerful kicks behind a seemingly improved boxing game. He’ll need every bit of his striking prowess since he’ll be facing a tall task against Max Holloway, winner of 9 straight UFC fights. Guess who his last was? Yep, Conor McGregor. Holloway’s used the same strategy on his 9 fight winning streak, and that’s simply utilizing his superior length (5’11 height) and very strong boxing in combination with well-timed leg kicks and spacing. It may turn into an unpredictable fight as Pettis generally struggles against a specific strategy that Holloway may not be able to pull off. That’s cornering and cutting off Pettis, limiting the space he has to operate. The featherweight title shot is on the line for Holloway, so he’ll certainly take his skills to the MAX against Pettis. Sexy pun.

Holloway has employed a simple but extremely effective strategy during his win streak, and that’s staying busy on the feet with fast, crisp punch combinations that’s aided by his length and lanky build. He mixes in leg kicks to the point that opponents have to respect it and can’t be too aggressive against Holloway or eat a quick counter combination. Holloway’s biggest strength against Pettis is going to be his reaction time and great spacing in order to get around Pettis’ kick-centric offense. Holloway has an innate ability to somehow circle away from danger and create striking angles at the same time. His flurries of punch combinations and finishing them off with a hard kick has both helped his sig strike output and putting steady pressure on his opponents until they crack (or in Cub Swanson’s case, his jaw).

Pettis is a very athletic Taekwondo striker with monster kicks that could shatter a brick wall. The problem that’s continued to plague him is his inability to handle pressure and getting cornered. Most Taekwondo fighters generally need space to really maximize their striking repertoire and unique angled kicks. Holloway isn’t really into the whole cornering his opponents thing unless he feels he has all the advantages in the fight and doesn’t have to worry about the take-down. That could very well be Holloway’s gameplan since Pettis’ isn’t a dangerous wrestler and only has basic take-downs. It’ll likely come down to whether or not Pettis can consistently attack Holloway’s legs and body with his kick combinations and not get smacked by a 1-2 combo immediately after. Pettis’ biggest strength is his BJJ, as his famed guillotine choke has put away some of the best BJJ guys in the lightweight division (and now featherweight with the win over Oliveira). The thing is, Holloway isn’t going to let his neck get cranked or come close to it at all during the 5 round fight. That spells doom for Pettis, who already struggles against smart strikers who can space well and can still get corner traps. Maybe a body kick catches Holloway and crumples him, but most likely Holloway simply overwhelms Pettis with furious punch combos and racks up 100+ sig in a decisive win.

Holloway via unanimous decision


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