PREVIEW: Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
Featured Image Credit: OddsShark
UFC 236 is main evented by a HUGE (interim) Lightweight title fight between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. This is a rematch from a fight that happened in 2014, but these are obviously very different fighters. Max is now arguable the best Featherweight ever, while Poirier has beaten 2 former champions in his last fight, both by finish. So what happens now? Let’s see.
The Blessed Era is in full effect. Max Holloway is an absolute monster and I do not think that there is a soul at 145 that could beat him at the moment. I know that there are many fans (including us at Untitled MMA) that are tired of seeing interim title fights, and the argument is simple: the fight does not have to be for a belt. While that is generally true, this fight HAD to be for a belt. Max, to me at least, could not justifiably leave his division if it was not for chasing gold. That was Conor’s initial motivation for leaving 145, but then RDA pulled out and Nate Diaz stepped in. So for Max, this had to be for a belt.
Stylistically, not many can match with Max. He is an insane volume striker that can legitimately pour it on for five whole rounds without slowing down. Look at the Brian Ortega fight. Or the Jose Aldo fights. Even the Anthony Pettis fight. You can see what Max brings. He pieces together combination after combination and mentally breaks his opponents before making them break physically. Look for him to set the pace Saturday night and make Poirier fight his fight. If he does that, I truly believe Max Holloway will walk away with a clear shot at being a Champ Champ in the coming months.
Dustin Poirier has been getting a lot of flack. People are talking about how he does not deserve a title shot, albeit an interim one. I disagree. While Tony Ferguson is without a doubt more deserving, he is currently not available to fight for personal reasons. With him out and with Conor selling whiskey and planning Artem Lobov’s victory party after his upcoming bare-knuckle boxing match, he is truly the only deserving contender left. He has beaten Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis in his last three. He finished all three of them. He has come a long way since being a pea-headed hillbilly.
As a fighter, he has a lot of similar qualities as Max. He pieces together stiff combinations. He is a high-action fighter. He is super exciting. He has shown that he is a very adept grappler, finishing the Anthony Pettis fight while they were on the ground. The problem here is that Max has shown that he is probably better at these things. I do not think that Dustin’s grappling is substantially better than Max’s to give him any real advantage anywhere. That won’t stop him, though, so look for a FOTY contender this Saturday.