Max “Blessed” Holloway made a successful return to his featherweight throne beating Frankie Edgar to retain his championship in the main event of UFC 240. This was Holloway’s first victory via decision since he beat Ricardo Lamas at UFC 199 in June 2016. Holloway has won 13 straight at featherweight and owns a UFC-record 16 wins at 145 pounds.
Who is next for the “Blessed” champ?
If this were a test, this was be the easiest question to answer. There is one logical fight for Holloway and that is a matchup with Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski was the backup fighter for UFC 240 and weighed in just in case something happened to either the champ or the challenger. The Aussie is also ranked number one in the division. Some people felt he should’ve fought Max at UFC 240 in place of Edgar.
Compared to Edgar, Volkanovski has more power in his punches and might be able to do some damage to the champ. Holloway extended his record of fights with more than 100 significant strikes landed to nine. Max and Alexander are known for their striking games, so this fight would be action packed and I can foresee a stand up war when these two meet.
Volkanovski is 7-0 in the UFC and coming off back-to-back wins over Chad Mendes and former featherweight champ Jose Aldo. When looking at his resume, these are his two most impressive wins to date, although his overall record is 20-1. His record says that he is no slouch and the last thing anyone wants to do it overlook him.
Alex believes he is a bad matchup for Holloway and recently said, “I’m actually comfortable a little bit out of range as well. I like to pick my times when to come in, he [Max] likes to really pour it on and you’ve seen when he’s really in your face. Really trying to suffocate you, and give you that claustrophobic feeling, but Frankie didn’t really crumble there and I know I won’t and I know I can handle that pace and I know I’m very powerful.”
But let’s be real, all of Max’s past contenders have said the same thing going into the fight just to get dominated by Max’s barrage of striking and superior takedown defense. As fans, we understand that a fighter must talk himself up going into a fight, but we want to see you back that talk up inside the Octagon and execute your game plan.
My biggest question concerning Volkanovski would be if your striking game is negated by Max’s reach and constant activity, what is your Plan B? We really haven’t seen him grapple in the UFC.
“The Great” would love nothing more than to join the UFC 243 card, Oct. 5 in his native Australia, as the co-main event against Holloway. Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia holds a crowd of 50 to 60 thousand, so there is no doubt this would be a big event. The only hang-up to this fight taking place in October might be due to Holloway having fought three title fights in the past eight months and if he accepts this fight, it would make four in 10 months, which would be a lot to ask.
I think the safe bet would be Las Vegas at the end of the year.
Max has accepted all challenges since winning the belt and I don’t see him dodging Alexander Volkanovski, in what should be an all-out, action packed standup war.
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The Scrap’s Lee Brown is a 22-year Air Force Vet, fan of all sports – especially UFC, NFL & NBA, and cohost of Lee N Keys Real Talk Podcast. You can follow Lee on Twitter (@Levanstian757) and Instagram (@Va121Lee).