Max Holloway found a way to extend his fight win streak, which now stands at 13 after beating Brian Ortega to defend his undisputed featherweight strap.
Holloway made his return to the Octagon after a long time away due to injury and, whatever other health issues he ran into. Holloway’s health was a topic of discussion before UFC 231 as well, but nonetheless, Holloway turned in yet another impressive performance. If not for the chin and the heart of Brian Ortega, the fight would have been over much sooner than it was. Doctors called a stoppage at the end of round 4 due to swelling on Ortega’s eye that closed the eye completely.
Defeating Ortega means Holloway has no contenders to fight next without a few title eliminator matchups. However, Holloway has become a star for the organization, so the options are endless.
Potential matchups for Max Holloway
With the defeat of Ortega, Holloway has removed his seemingly biggest challenge for his belt at 145-pounds. The question now becomes, “what’s next?” Holloway is pulling for a card in Hawaii in 2019, while Bellator MMA has a card set at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center. Although the Hawaiian wants to fight in his hometown, the stadium has a capacity of roughly 8,800 seats, which would not be large enough for a Holloway fight. Aside from all that, what fights make the most sense for Holloway going forward? Holloway said he wouldn’t be against moving up to lightweight, but he does not want to leave his throne at the top of the 145-pound division.
Holloway vs Moicano
Renato Moicano is on a 2-fight win streak with his last loss being to Brian Ortega in a fight he was most likely winning before he allowed himself to go to the ground late in round 3. Moicano was beating Ortega on the feet in a similar fashion that Holloway was able to do. Moicano’s most recent win against Cub Swanson in dominant fashion put him in up with the top few who deserve a shot at the title. Moicano would have plenty of momentum going into this fight and would have even more if he defeats Jose Aldo at UFC Fortaleza. What makes this fight even more interesting is that Moicano has never faced Holloway, so let's hope we get to see these two scrap inside the Octagon in future.
Holloway vs Nurmagomedov
Holloway referred to his fight with Ortega as a superfight, and would undoubtedly be intrigued by a real one vs the lightweight champion. There are lots of issues with this fight currently, Khabib is suspended, and we do not know how long he will be suspended for. There has been talk surrounding Khabib vs Ferguson, which Dana has said he wants to have happen, and the rare chance McGregor gets a rematch vs Khabib also exists. It is an intriguing option, that’s why it makes the list, but it doesn’t seem feasible at this time. This fight was supposed to happen when Holloway tried to step up on short notice after Ferguson injured his knee, however Max ended up being declared medically unfit when going through the weight cut and was pulled from the fight.
Holloway vs Ferguson
This fight could potentially be for an interim championship while Khabib is away. The problem of Dana wanting Ferguson to fight Khabib for the title clouds the possibility of this fight. This makes more sense because Ferguson is not suspended, but he may be against the idea of having the interim belt again as he was stripped after pulling out of his fight with Khabib. Ferguson vs Holloway could be a great match up and an exciting fight. If this were for the interim belt, either winner could set up for a match against Khabib.
Holloway vs Edgar
Frankie Edgar also lost to Brian Ortega, and also beat Cub Swanson to assert himself back into title contention. Sounds a lot like Moicano, but Edgar has been around the block longer, and is a former champion in another weight class. Edgar and Holloway have been scheduled twice already, but it has never happened due to injuries from both fighters. When Holloway was hurt the second time, Edgar accepted the fight vs Ortega, which forced Edgar’s title contention to take a quick detour. Now he is back at the top of the picture and has the strongest claim for the next shot at the featherweight title.
Holloway vs McGregor 2
This is the fight that people seem to be excited about, and for good reason. Much like Khabib, Conor is still suspended, but it appears as though he will be facing a lighter suspension. This makes the matchup here more likely. There is history to settle here as well, as McGregor is the last one to have bested Holloway. These two are both range management experts, with fantastic striking prowess. The last match up between these two was an incredible fight that went the distance, and this fight in a new weight class could be just as exciting as the first. McGregor seems to call most of his own shots, but this is a fight the fans want to see.
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