Assessing Max Holloway’s Claim that he’s the UFC’s Best Boxer
During Max Holloway’s top-contender bout with Calvin Kattar on January 16th, 2021, the former featherweight champion claimed that he’s the best stand-up fighter in the promotion. Make no mistake about it, Blessed’s performance was masterful, and his on-the-feet game undoubtedly looked sharper than ever before.
Throughout his career, the Hawaiian has always been a volume striker, but against Kattar, his precision was on point. Somehow the American avoided a stoppage defeat, but few would have argued had Herb Dean, the referee, stopped the fight on numerous occasions. So, is Holloway the best boxer in the UFC?
Is Boxing Becoming the Most Important Aspect of MMA?
Throughout the years, the dominant practice in MMA has continually changed. In the organization’s early days, jiu-jitsu ruled the sport, with Royce Gracie defeating Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock, and Gerard Gordeau to win the UFC 1 tournament. As time evolved, the submission-orientated martial art became less effective as both wrestling and boxing rose to prominence. Recently, boxing skills have become a hot topic in the world of MMA following Conor McGregor’s crossover fight with Floyd Mayweather in August 2017. Since then, the Notorious has hinted at a bout with Manny Pacquiao, while Jose Aldo and Nate Diaz have stated their desire to switch to boxing.
Although MMA is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, the practice’s fascination with boxing speaks volumes about the ring-based activity’s combat status. In catering to stand-up fans, Electronic Arts’ UFC 4 video game features a Stand and Bang mode, in which submissions and wrestling are off the cards.
Moreover, the online casino industry has also sought to take advantage of the modern-day popularity of boxing. At BonusFinder’s list of the safest sites online, many top-rated operators’ libraries feature combat-orientated titles. For example, at PartyCasino, where players can get 50 bonus spins on Starburst, they can also immerse themselves in Mike Tyson Knockout. Within the five-reel slot, the game features scatter symbols, which activate free-spin bonuses and multipliers.
Few Other Fighters Agree with Blessed
After yelling mid-fight to the commentary team, Holloway’s claim piqued numerous fighters’ interests, including McGregor. In light of the suggestions, the Notorious stated that he’s unquestionably the company’s best boxer. However, after losing to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, the Diamond threw his name into the hat for the honor.
Perhaps the current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, offered the most balanced assessment of Holloway. On the topic of the Hawaiian’s boxing ability, the undefeated 155-pound fighter declared that he didn’t know if the 29-year-old was the best in the company but suggested that he’s undoubtedly one of the most skilled.
The statistics from Holloway’s fight against Kattar certainly support his claim. According to official stats from the UFC website, Blessed threw 746 strikes, of which 744 of them were significant. In terms of success, he landed 59 percent of his total significant strikes. What’s most insightful concerns his accuracy figures deep into the fight. In rounds four and five, he landed 73 percent and 59 percent of his shots, respectively. Impressively, this was more than each of the opening rounds.
Holloway’s in the Conversation
Because of the various approaches in MMA, boxing styles and stances are incredibly varied. As such, it’s tough to declare who the UFC’s best boxer is. That said, in terms of the complete package, look no further than Holloway. Not only is Blessed throwing at a high volume, but he’s also combining that with unpredictable angles of entry and consistent accuracy.