Max Holloway set a new precedent in the UFC and possibly redefined MMA with his lopsided unanimous decision victory over Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7 last Saturday.
‘Blessed’ landed a record-breaking 447 strikes on Kattar and pounded on his opponent like a frozen piece of beef in a Rocky Balboa film.
But why wasn’t Holloway able to land on Alexander Volkanovski with such proficiency in prior bouts at UFC 245 and UFC 251?
According to Volkanovski, who beat Holloway in back-to-back fights to not only win but also defend the featherweight title, it’s because ‘The Great’ executed the perfect gameplan.
Volkanovski went into detail about how he was able to nullify Max’s volume striking and actually outland the Hawaiian in both championship matchups.
“To be honest, obviously, looking for a takedown was always going to be there, but it wasn’t something I was going to chase,” Volkanovski told Grange TV in a recent interview (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock). “There’s a whole standup game plan that we had to stick to. We knew he’s really good with his distance. And with that, we knew we’re going to pull up short up high.
“When he really pours the pressure on, he’s in your face so it seems like he’s there. But early on, especially when he sees the dangers and he’s really good at distance, touching and getting out of the way, avoiding punches and then giving you some countering.
“So we had ways of getting in. And if that pulled short, it was going to be other options there that we needed to stick to. Obviously, the legs. He might pull his head out of the way so we knew that, so we went to go up high and then we’re pulling up short like we expected.
“When he’s coming forward, he’s heavy on that leg when he wants to pour it on. … The punches come up, we’ll pull them up a bit short. Alright, that’s not there? The legs are. Alright, let’s start smashing the legs. And not only that, that was always going to be the game plan because he likes to come forward and put the pressure on. As he’s trying to jab, I’ll just stick one into his leg, let him realize he’s not going to get his rhythm. So the leg kicks were a big part of that.”
“I’ll kick his legs and then he would try and fire right away. So as soon as I would kick, he was trying to stick a jab in my face when he realized he couldn’t get out of the way. Then I would let him run straight into a punch or kick, as he was trying to throw a jab, I’ll come with overhand rights and hooks.
“Then he started reading that after my kicks, I started firing so he started running into punches. So he went there, pretended he’d come in, make me fire and then go. Then I would change it up again because I realized he was baiting me after the kick. These are little things that you wouldn’t see. A lot of people think the game plan is kicking his legs and think that was it. But it goes so much deeper than that.”
Check out the full interview below:
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