Hawaii’s Max Holloway kept his MMA career on an upward trajectory with a lopsided victory over sixth-ranked Calvin Kattar in a UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi and seen by a national audience on ABC-TV.
Bloodied, but unbowed, Kattar lost on all three cards, but refused to go down, despite being beat to a pulp. His nose broken, maybe a rib or two, he was there at the end when the ring announcer broke the news. Holloway won by decision 50-43, 50-43, 50-42. And that was Holloway taking it easy on Kattar in the final round out of respect.
“I’m the best boxer in the UFC,” Holloway yelled to the ringside announcers while dodging Kattar’s ineffective punches midway through the fifth round. It was a Michael Jordan moment.
The former UFC featherweight champ raised his record to 22-6 with the victory. Kattar fell to 26-5. It was an important win for the 28-year-old Holloway, who entered the octagon having lost three of his last four fights. He has had eight title bouts in his career and may have positioned himself for a ninth with the victory.
Holloway got off to a good start, clearly winning the first round with a 2-1 advantage on significant strikes. In the past, Holloway hasn’t always been quick to join the party. It was his goal to come out swinging and he did a good job on the slower Kattar.
The second round was even more Holloway’s. The last minute of the round he pounded Kattar with a right elbow and cracked open Kattar’s forehead. It looked like Holloway was the better fighter at all levels — striking, leg kicks and peppering punches that left Kattar smiling at the end of the 10-8 round, covered in blood. That was as much as a 10-8 as it gets.
The third round was a lot closer, with Kattar landing big shots, but it just wasn’t enough to affect the outcome. Holloway was playful at times with a mutual respect party for both at the end of the rounds. Another round for Holloway.
More of the same in the fourth round as Holloway beat him bloody, but Kattar refused to go down. He was beat senseless with 224 significant strikes with one minute left in round four. Give Kattar credit, he’s tough, but it’s hard to believe he made it to the end of round 4. Another 10-8 round.
On the main undercard, local boy Punahele Soriano defeated Dusko Todorovic by TKO late in the first round. The Kahuku High product raised his mark to 8-0 after the referee stopped it at the 4:48 mark, much to Soriano’s surprise. Soriano hasn’t been in the cage in a year after suffering a concussion and made reference to it while being interviewed after the lopsided win that saw him landing lefts and rights to his defenseless opponent.
“Not bad for a year off,” Soriano said. “He hit me with some good shots. He was kicking me. No matter how hard I hit him, he was focused and trying hard to hit me back. That was exactly the fight I was predicting.”
Of Soriano’s eight wins, seven have ended in the first round. He is seen as a rising star in the 185-pound division.