Can Arnold secure a title shot? | UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen main event preview

Everything fans need to know about the main event of UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen.

By: Dayne Fox | 2 months ago
Can Arnold secure a title shot? | UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen main event preview
One half of the UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen main event, Max Holloway. | Imago/Scott Taetsch

Anyone with a modicum of information about the legacy of Max Holloway would acknowledge he’s an all-time great as he heads into UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen. Of his seven career losses, only one of them came against someone who never claimed some sort of UFC gold. That came a decade ago at the hands of Dennis Bermudez when Holloway was just 21. The other losses on his resume were Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, and Alexander Volkanovski, two of those defeats coming at the age of 21 or younger. Since Holloway found his footing, he’s been a world beater. 

Unfortunately, the Hawaiian’s last three losses have all been at the hands of Volkanovski with the featherweight title on the line. In the process, it would seem that he’s been effectively eliminated from the title picture for as long as the Aussie remains champion. Given there’s no signs of him slowing down—and that Volkanovski failed in his attempt to claim lightweight gold—that could be a long time.

For the main card preview, click here. For the prelims preview, click here.

UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen main event 

Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen | Featherweight 

The question everyone has for the main event of UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen is whether Holloway is motivated after his three losses to Volkanovski. If he’s not going to be in the title picture, will he continue to have something to fight for? It’s a fair question as motivation has brought a halt to many elite careers. However, Holloway faced similar questions after his second loss to Volkanovski. He responded with two of the most dominant performances of his career, including the decision over Calvin Kattar that saw ‘Blessed’ shatter the record for most significant strikes in a single fight. 

This isn’t the exact same situation. The second loss to Volkanovski was a controversial one, leaving open the possibility of the third fight. That door has since been slammed shut. Regardless, Holloway proved he can bounce back from a debilitating loss. Plus, the slew of upsets in the title picture that have happened across the UFC over the past year or so should inform anyone to be ready. Fighters never know what might happen next. 

Aside from Volkanovski, Holloway has been a terror to the entirety of the featherweight division. The 31-year-old declared himself to the best boxer in the UFC in the midst of an endless punching combination against Kattar and it’s hard to argue with him. He knows how to convince fighters of where he’s going to be when they throw back at him, allowing Holloway slip away and catch his opponent off-guard with lengthy punching combinations. Plus, there are few who seamlessly mix their strikes to the body and head as well as Holloway does. 

Volkanovski has proven the Holloway riddle can be solved. However, it may be that only supremely gifted athletes can do so. Allen is gifted enough to do so. The Brit is built like a tank and has the speed and quickness of much smaller men. When he opts to wrestle, there are few who have been able to stop him from getting them down. Of course, that’s when he decides to wrestle. Even though he’s one of the better takedown artists at 145, he often prefers to fall back on his boxing rather exploit his physical strength. 

UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen – Can ‘Almighty’ compete on the feet?

That isn’t to say Arnold is a terrible boxer. His fundamentals are rock solid, his one-two being one of the best in the game. He’s been working on translating his physical strength into his striking power too, securing a pair of KO/TKO stoppages in his last two contests after not scoring one in his first eight UFC fights. Perhaps an asterisk needs to be attached as Dan Hooker never should have returned to featherweight and the Kattar stoppage was due to a knee injury. Regardless, he’s also picked up enough knockdowns over the course of his UFC run to indicate his power isn’t fluky. It may just be that his killer instinct is missing instead.

The 6th Round is back LIVE on Video following UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen.

Whatever fans & pundits may think of the man’s power, the amount of people expecting him to finish Holloway in the main event of UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen is slim and none. The Gracie Technics talent has only been finished once in his career, all the way back in 2012 when he was making his UFC debut. Many worry about Holloway’s chin holding up for much longer given an already difficult weight cut won’t be getting easier as he gets older. The fact that opponents rarely end up landing cleanly on him makes it less likely he gets dropped. In fact, Holloway has never officially been knocked down in his UFC run. 

While Allen is the superior grappler, there’s the issue with not just getting Holloway to the mat, but keeping him on the mat. Holloway’s footwork makes him difficult not just to hit, but to drag down too. However, Holloway’s grappling, long his most underrated trait, is focused on helping him get back to his feet more than anything else. Volkanovski even abandoned takedowns in their third contest after having minimal success with those in the first two. I like Allen’s wrestling ability, but I worry about his ability to hold Holloway down if Volkanovski couldn’t. 

The UFC Fight Night Holloway vs Allen main event pick

There was a brief period when I was leaning towards Allen. He’s younger, there’s no doubt he’s physically stronger too. He’s also got all the motivation in the world. If he beats Holloway, he’s undoubtedly fighting for the title next. Holloway gets…well, a fresh matchup? Ultimately, there’s a couple of factors that pushed me towards the former champ. The first is something that many have identified given the obvious nature of it. Holloway has a long history of going five rounds without slowing down. Arnold has never fought into the championship rounds. 

Secondly, Allen is unlikely to compete with Holloway on the feet. While Allen is technically sound, he’s somewhat stiff in his striking. I’ll admit he’s not as bad as he was when he touched down in the UFC, but there’s still some awkwardness to his movement. Against Holloway, one of the most fluid strikers in the history of the sport, it will probably be hard to identify Allen’s improvements. Plus, Holloway has shown signs of continuing to round out his game. Holloway either scores a late stoppage as Allen wilts under his pressure or a decision. Holloway via decision 

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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