UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen staff picks and predictions: Another ‘Blessed’ era to begin?

See who we are picking for UFC Fight Night: Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen.

By: Tim Bissell | 2 months ago
UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen staff picks and predictions: Another ‘Blessed’ era to begin?
UFC Fight Night Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen staff picks and predictions. IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen goes live this weekend from Kansas City, MO. Atop the card is a highly intriguing featherweight clash between the former champ Max Holloway and the surging Brit Arnold Allen.

Holloway has been largely flawless in his recent career against opponents not named Alexander Volkanovski. Allen is the owner of a rare undefeated record in the UFC. But winning streak be damned. Our staffers think ‘Blessed’ will walk out of this one with a win and maybe a case to fight for the featherweight title, again.

The co-main event for UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen is another vet versus upstart match-up with Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo. This time the staff are firmly in the camp of the young gun, all but one thinking Quarantillo has what it takes to best the Brazilian knockout artist.

You can check out our other picks for the rest of the card below.

UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen picks

Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen

Anton Tabuena: It’s been seven years since Holloway won his first UFC title fight, and he has been through a lot in his 13-year career. I’m not sure how much his most recent performance can be attributed to that and how much to Volkanovski’s greatness, but until he actually shows that decline and loses to someone else, I’m really not going to pick against him at 145 lbs. Allen is good, but I’m still going with Max Holloway by decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I never pick against Holloway, even if he’s not in his prime anymore. Allen’s a big and strong bull of a featherweight that has really put things together well as of late. Plus as Dan Tom noted, Max has had struggles with southpaws, which benefits Allen. But he might still be a bit raw on the defensive end and runs the risk of getting carved up with combination work over time.

And Max is a threat on the ground, although I don’t expect him to be the one taking things there. Finally, it’s a five-rounder, and Max is used to dragging dudes into deep water. Not giving up on the guy, he’s still got it. Max Holloway by decision.

Zane Simon: I’d be lying if I said I was entirely confident of Holloway in this fight. There’s no really great reason to pick against him, but Allen does bear the faint resemblance of both Alex Volkanovski and Dustin Poirier; two men who found plenty of success against the high-output Hawaiian.

Notably, Allen fights exceptionally well off his back foot, and has some solid power on long strikes and quick counters. It’s the kind of toolset that allowed both Volk and Poirier to repeatedly stifle Holloway’s momentum whenever he tried to up the front foot pressure. Counter his jab often enough and hard enough, and you can force Holloway to reset over and over and not simply style on you with a tidal wave of boxing output. That said, Calvin Kattar, Brian Ortega, and Yair Rodriguez all have some of that skill too.

So did Jose Aldo, and none of them could keep pace with ‘Blessed’ once he got on a roll. In Allen’s case, most of his wins are very cautious, slow-paced affairs. And the one time recently that he poured on the offense, he got dropped in the process. I’ll take Max Holloway to win, I feel like I have to. But Allen just might have the tools to put together a perfect, winning fight. Max Holloway by decision.

Staff picking Holloway: Kristen, Stephie, Victor, Jack, Dayne, Anton, Eddie, Zane
Staff picking Allen: Chris, Lucas, Bissell

Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo

Victor Rodriguez: I don’t wanna say Edson’s washed, but it ain’t looking too Hollywood for him right now. Yes, he has the tools to beat back a surging contender in Quarantillo. And Billy might struggle with some of the layers in Barboza’s striking. That doesn’t mean that Billy can’t establish the distance where he needs it to be and get in extra close to deliver damage. I don’t like seeing Edson lose, but Billy got the hot hand, the power, and the smarts to decipher Barboza’s game. Billy Quarantillo by decision. 

Zane Simon: I feel like I say this every week, but man I hate to see us all so one-sided in picking a fight like this one. Billy Quarantillo certainly has the right attitude and aggression to beat Edson Barboza, but he might also be the worst athlete to ever get the job done if he does actually win.

He’s not that fast, he’s not that strong, he’s not that great a wrestler. If any of that makes it difficult for Quarantillo to catch up with Barboza on the back foot early, or if he hesitates to close him down early, Barboza can still very much kick his legs to hell. Shane Burgos was happy to have a kickboxing battle with Barboza not long ago, and it still really didn’t work out for him. That said, Quarantillo is much more of a stiflingly aggressive, pathological bully in the cage than Burgos, and that is something Barboza hates dealing with. I’ll take Billy Quarantillo via decision. But, Eddie might just make us all look foolish.

Staff picking Barboza: Eddie
Staff picking Quarantillo: Chris, Lucas, Kristen, Stephie, Victor, Jack, Dayne, Anton, Zane, Bissell

Dustin Jacoby vs. Azamat Murzakanov

Victor Rodriguez: Murzakanov has a strong wrestling threat, but it’s not a style or form that Dustin isn’t used to or hasn’t seen. And Murzakanov may not be used to facing a long and rangy striker with the kind of Muay Thai base that Jacoby has. Dustin’s going to hustle hard early to avoid takedowns and wear out Murzakanov to put the pressure on and hurt him along the way. Dustin Jacoby by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: This feels like it might be the point where Azamat Murzakanov’s game gets exposed a bit. He has the classic Sambo-stylist’s approach to MMA, which is to focus on big, single stopping strikes, timed to land just when the opponent is stepping into range. That could be just the right thing to KO a tall lanky fighter like Jacoby, but Jacoby has proven very, very hard to knockout over his career.

Otherwise it’s mostly a game made to beat opponents who can’t offer much from distance. Guys like Clarke and Nchukwi who have to step into the pocket to engage repeatedly. Jacoby doesn’t have that problem. He’s great at pumping out a lot of quick volume, working behind jabs and kicks, and he’s been looking much more comfortable with stuffing counter-wrestling and eating counter shots while staying aggressive lately. All of which leads me to believe he’ll out-work Murzakanov to a decision. Dustin Jacoby by decision.

Staff picking Jacoby: Chris, Kristen, Stephie, Victor, Jack, Dayne, Anton, Eddie, Zane

Staff picking Murzakanov: Lucas, Bissell

Ion Cutelaba vs. Tanner Boser

Victor Rodriguez: Boser dropping to 205 is interesting, as he still has his power and might benefit from being a bit leaner. While it’s not the warmest welcome fight, Boser now meets a guy whose fight IQ goes out the window the moment things get heated. And that happens way too often for me to pick Ion, so no. That locker room gonna be smelling like Molson until Wednesday. Tanner Boser by KO.

Zane Simon: This fight… There was a time when Ion Cutelaba looked like a potential contender in the making. But things have just never clicked with phase shifting between striking and wrestling. And these days he seems more desperate for takedowns than ever. But without a great focus on top control, that leaves him shooting over and over and over until his opponent times him and starts dialling him up. Boser’s no great shakes as a wrestler, but if his durability survives the weight cut, he is good at riding out bad spots and regaining momentum.

I inherently don’t trust heavyweights who drop to 205, and I don’t think this will pay off for Boser long term, but if Cutelaba is going to self destruct and Boser isn’t then I guess I have to take Boser here. Tanner Boser via TKO, round 2.

Staff picking Cutelaba: Jack, Dayne

Staff picking Boser: Chris, Lucas, Kristen, Stephie, Victor, Anton, Eddie, Zane, Bissell

Pedro Munhoz vs. Chris Gutierrez

Victor Rodriguez: Daddy’s gonna keep it nice and short: I don’t trust Pedro anymore. While he’s got the experience edge having faced more notable opposition, Chris is looking sharp and explosive. Pedro might get bullied a bit, and should have good takedown defense to start, but I see him cracking as the fight goes on and having to work off his back a lot. Chris Gutierrez by decision

Zane Simon: I’m a little worried about Gutierrez fighting off the back foot, if Pedro Munhoz can offer anything like the pressure that got him wins over Brett Johns and Rob Font. But, Munhoz has seemed to leave that style behind him lately, favouring a more cautious, in-and-out kickboxing style.

If that’s going to be the case, Gutierrez’s high output kicking game and crafty target selection could give him a whole lot to work with. Add into it that Munhoz has now crossed the 35-year-old barrier that tends to push fighters out of contention in lower weight classes and I’ll take Chris Gutierrez by decision.

Staff picking Munhoz: Chris, Lucas, Jack, Dayne, Anton, Eddie

Staff picking Gutierrez: Kristen, Stephie, Victor, Zane, Bissell

Clay Guida vs. Rafa Garcia

Victor Rodriguez: Man, this card really has a lot of “fading name guy vs young whippersnapper” matchpus. Rafa’s strong and has a good wrestleboxer base, but Clay’s frustrating movement and output could lead to Rafa getting his face jabbed on for the whole fight. Then again, Guida’s been on a decline for some time even if he did snag a win over Hot Sauce Holtzman not long ago. I kind of trust Guida, but not enough. Rafa Garcia by decision. 

Zane Simon: If Rafa Garcia is willing to walk Guida down and let his hands go, he should be able to take the win here. Guida still has energy, but it’s turned into less physical dominance and less aggression than ever. Garcia’s not a master of any one trade, but he can compete everywhere. Rafa Garcia by decision.

Staff picking Guida: Chris, Bissell

Staff picking Garcia: Lucas, Kristen, Stephie, Victor, Jack, Dayne, Anton, Eddie, Zane

Bill Algeo vs. T.J. Brown

Victor Rodriguez: Personal bias be damned, Bill Algeo by submission

Zane Simon: TJ Brown is fun, and scrappy as hell, but often throws himself into dangerous positions where he can get hurt pretty bad…

To read the rest of our UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.

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UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Allen 6th Round reaction show.

Leader board

Eddie picked up another pick on Dayne with a strong showing last weekend, going 8-4. Coin-flipper Chris also went 8-4. Behind them Dayne, Anton, Lucas and new player Jack all racked up 7-5 records. Anton’s good showing (which included picking Adesanya) saw him leapfrog Zane into third place. We’re still bunched up at the top so we could see a new leader based on how things shake out at UFC Fight Night: Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen.

PositionStafferCorrectIncorrectTotal Picks%Picks BackWeek 11 Record
1 (-)Dayne88471350.6527-5
2 (-)Eddie87481350.64418-4
3 (▲1)Anton82531350.60767-5
4 (▼1)Zane80551350.59384-8
5 (-)Kristen77581350.570115-7
6 (-)Stephie76481240.613126-6
7 (-)Bissell70651350.519185-7
8 (▲1)Chris62631250.496268-4
9 (▼1)Lucas61591200.508277-5
10 (-)Victor3021510.588580-0
11 (-)BE Community2921500.580595-7
12 (nr)Jack75120.583817-5
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Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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