Michael Chiesa makes prediction for ‘striking extravaganza’ between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar


UFC Fight Night: Pearce v Kamaka
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Before he closes the show on Jan. 20, UFC welterweight, and analyst, Michael Chiesa is excited to watch the featherweight main event four nights earlier.

Chiesa will headline Wednesday’s UFC Fight Island 8 event against Neil Magny, while Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar take center stage this Saturday at UFC Fight Island 7. Both events take place at the new Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Saturday’s card will be the first mixed martial arts fight card to air on ABC.

Holloway is looking to get back in the win column after dropping consecutive title fights to Alexander Volkanovski. “Blessed” looked to regain his title in July at UFC 251 and was on the wrong side of a controversial split decision.

The 29-year-old Hawaiian competes in his first non-title fight since a unanimous decision win over Ricardo Lamas at UFC 199. Chiesa has always been impressed with Holloway’s skillset, and his ability to keep opponents guessing with his standup.

“People don’t realize that Max Holloway does not have a long wingspan,” Chiesa told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “He makes up for that with his pressure, with the way he changes stances, and you would never guess that he doesn’t have a longer reach because he fights like he does have a long reach. A lot of that has to do with pressure and his ability to stand in the pocket and throw volume punches. Not those short punches. He throws long so it looks like he has a long reach.”

Kattar will look to take a huge step towards his first championship opportunity this Saturday. “The Boston Finisher” told MMA Fighting in December that with a win, he believes his next fight should unquestionably be for the title against the winner of the expected-to-be-booked championship fight between Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.

With two impressive wins in 2020 and momentum on his side, Chiesa believes something special is happening in Massachusetts.

“Calvin Kattar, this guy is an assassin,” Chiesa said. “He is so sharp. We saw in the Jeremy Stephens fight, he looked good. We saw it in the Dan Ige fight and Dan is as tough as they come, durable, and Calvin Kattar showed he could push a pace for 25 minutes.

“The guy is super tough, he’s rolling with the New England Cartel and there’s something going on over there. You got Rob Font who is looking good and Calvin Kattar has been like the captain of that team.”

Chiesa expects a super close fight between the former champion and the surging, yet seasoned contender. The big question on his mind is what is Holloway’s mindset after a loss that. naturally, has to be frustrating?

“I feel like the odds may be stacked against Max a little bit, and I don’t think it’s from a skill standpoint,” Chiesa explained. “I think, maybe, I don’t know how focused he is on wanting to get that fight back with Alexander Volkanovski. And in this sport, you have to be focused on the task at hand. You can’t be focused on the fights that could’ve, would’ve, should’ve happened, or should’ve went different. Those could come back to haunt you.

“I would hate to see Max have his performance altered by the fact that he might be too focused on getting that third fight against the champion.”

When it comes to a prediction for the fight, Chiesa can see the underdog having his big career moment to cap off a historic event. But even more so, he believes the fans and those who will be watching will be the true victors of the day.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a showcase fight for Calvin because Max is as tough as they come, but I think there’s something in the air that Calvin Kattar does enough to get the job done,” Chiesa explained. “But, with that being said, Max Holloway could show us that he is one of the best to ever do it by going out and beating Calvin Kattar. It’s tough to say.

“I’m slightly leaning towards Kattar in this fight, but I think it’s going to be striking extravaganza, lots of boxing, it’s gonna be really fun. I’m excited for it.”

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