Not many fighters have received the hype that UFC Fight Night 26‘s Conor McGregor (13-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has received, let alone at such an early stage in their UFC careers. The Irish prospect McGregor has been said, by Dana White, to have the most hype after making their UFC debut next to Brock Lesnar. With 12 of McGregor’s 13 victories coming by way of knockout and one by way of submission, the former Cage Warrior’s champion is possibly the most exciting prospect to enter the UFC in the 145lb division and is only the second Irish fighter to fight for the UFC.
Max Holloway (7-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC), his opponent, is a replacement for English fighter Andy Ogle who was forced out of the fight due to injury and is coming off a split decision loss against Dennis Bermudez, though some see this as a better fight. Holloway has the perfect underdog story going into this bout. While McGregor is making headlines and riding around in his boss’s Ferrari, Holloway is being as humble as ever training hard and waiting to get back to his family after the highest profile fight of his career. Holloway looking to see what the hype is about with McGregor while earning his respect and he will happily oblige in a stand up fight against the unorthodox Irishman.
This fight is very interesting mostly because of the hype surrounding McGregor. Holloway is not an opponent to be looked past, and if McGregor does overlook him we will learn that the Irishman had been thrown into the headlines far too early. Another thing to find is blemishes in his striking game, and if anyone will be able to find them it will be a game opponent like Holloway. The 21-year old Hawaiin native presents a very versatile striking style which will test McGregor’s ability to handle body shots and crisp punching combinations, something his past opponent Brimage was not able to do.
We know Holloway can keep his pace up for three rounds and he has never been knocked out, so if he is able to survive the early onslaught from McGregor we may be able to learn a lot more about both fighters. Holloway has faced better competition than McGregor and we have seen much more of him, but he did not look nearly as impressive as McGregor did in his UFC debut.
Prediction: I really don’t know.
This is the type of fight that is absolutely impossible to call. On one hand we have a fighter who is believed to be the next big thing although he is ultimately unproven against top fighters, and on the other hand we have a guy who has been thrown into the cage with tough fighters like Dustin Poirer, Dennis Bermudez, and Leonard Garcia who does pose a threat to the hyped Irishman that many overlook. The only prediction that could be made is if the fight is to end early, it will be by the hands of McGregor as he is very capable of finishing his opponents where Holloway has had 5 of his 7 victories come by way of decision. All in all, there is much to be learned about Mcgregor in this fight win or lose and if Holloway is able to upset the Irish superstar then his name will be that much closer to the top 10.