UFC Fight Island 7: Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Fight Picks

Photo: (Courtesy: Instagram/Max Holloway)

 

Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar is a sure-fire way to kick off the second iteration of Fight Island in entertaining fashion. In his first non-title fight since 2016, Holloway will be energized after a much-needed break and primed to snap his 2 fight losing skid. While Kattar has had a very long career, he is just now hitting his stride and looking more dangerous than ever.

Max Holloway (-188) vs Calin Kattar (+152) 

When sizing up this fight, you’d think it’s Holloway who is the more seasoned vet of the two. He has been on the UFC roster since 2012, taking on the who’s who of the featherweight division from the very beginning. But what most don’t realize is that Kattar’s career began 3 years before Holloway even stepped in the cage, and is 3 years Holloways elder. Granted, it’s Holloway who has far more experience in the show and against the top tier competition. But at this stage in their respective careers, the slow cooking of Kattar has him just entering his prime, whereas Holloway more or less finds himself at a crossroads.  

Technically speaking, Holloway is the better boxer, and the edge goes to Kattar in the kickboxing department. Holloway’s punching isn’t the fastest in the world, but he is accurate, he has combinations and often strings them together effectively. While he certainly possesses power, he tends to lean more on cumulative damage which allows him to maintain a high output of strikes into the championship rounds.  

At the end of the day   

Kattar has active footwork, keeps a very high guard, and likes to feint a lot. He is a very technical striker who likes to throw everything straight down the pipe, which is quite the contrast to Holloways wider and loopier style of punching. He will also be in the uncharted territory of outsizing Holloway, but it’s the Hawaiian’s experience that’ll give him the edge in this one. 

Pick: Max Holloway 

Santiago Ponzinibbio (-310) vs Li Jingliang (+240)

Despite coming off of a long lay off due to a litany of health issues, fanduel has Santiago Ponzinibbio entering this fight against Li Jingliang the heavy favorite, and for good reason. Two years is an eternity in MMA, and it’s been that long since Ponzinibbio last competed. However, the last time he competed, he was essentially considered one of the hottest contenders in the welterweight division. The fact that 16 of his 27 professional wins coming by way of KO/TKO tells you all you need to know. Ponzinibbio is an incredibly dangerous man, and he’s looking to pick up where he left off. 

Li Jingliang has had a fantastic UFC career putting up a record of 9-4 record, although considered a Ju-Jitsu specialist, most of his victories come by way of KO/TKO. Not only does he not shy away from a firefight,  he is often the one igniting it. 

At the end of the day 

Jingliang is an incredibly dangerous and tenacious striker, but it’s too reckless of an approach against a fighter of Ponzinibbio’s caliber.

Pick: Santiago Ponzinibbio 

Carlos Condit (-168) vs Matt Brown (+136)

The fanduel oddsmakers could not have been any more accurate in their assessment of this fight. Carlos Condit and Matt Brown are very similar fighters in style, and both are at a very similar stage of their careers. Both are technical kickboxers with serious grit and a mean streak to boot. Condit has shown more Ju-Jitsu prowess, however, both fighters have lost the majority of their fights by submission.

At the end of the day  

This is a contest where the most motivated fighter will be at a huge advantage and all likelihood that will be the difference-maker. Both guys are incredibly durable and absorb an immense amount of damage without going away, it’s Condit who has more tools striking wise, but Brown who has more power. The fact that Condit is fighting out his UFC contract ought to provide him with a bit more gusto, enough to get him the decision victory. 

Pick: Carlos Condit     

 

Joaquin Buckley (-290) vs Allessio Di Chirico (+225)

The fanduel odds for this tilt heavily favor Joaquin Buckley because last year he proved how terrifyingly dangerous he is. Aside from scoring unquestionably the best knock out of 2020, Buckley followed up the historical finish with a ravaging KO victory over Jordan Wright to close out the year. His last two fights earned him performance of the night honors, whereas his opponent Allessio Di Chirico is riding a three-fight losing streak. 

At the end of the day 

Di Chirico is an extremely tough individual, and it’s the toughness that has played a part in taking him as far as he has gotten. He has good striking fundamentals, but in a matchup with Buckley, he is going to be too slow and too predictable. This fight has Buckley’s name all over it

Pick: Joaquin Buckley   

Carlos Felipe(-190) vs Justin Tafa(+160) 

Carlos Felipe vs Justin Tafa is as evenly of a matched heavyweight tilt that you’re going see. Both fighters tip the scales at the heavyweight limit yet stand just 6 feet tall, and the majority of both fighter’s wins come by KO/TKO. They are similar in physical stature and they are similar in style, you’re not going to see a lot of kicks or knees in this one, this will likely be a boxing match.

At the end of the day 

Both fighters are sluggers, and by god, they possess power, especially Tafa. Felipe is the more experienced out of the two with ten professional fights to Tafa’s five. Felipe’s confidence will be high as he has just beaten the man who knocked out Tafa in his only loss. Although Tafa is coming off a win since, Felipe’s momentum coming into this fight will be enough to come out on top.

Pick: Carlos Felipe   

If Holloway comes away the victor on Saturday, it likely still won’t be enough to get him a title shot, not while Alex Volkanovski is at the throne. But a victory over Kattar is a big win in the UFC at this juncture, which means continued big things for Holloway.

Are you ready to make your fight picks? Head over to fanduel and enter the fight night contest for this weekend!

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