UFC 245: Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski Toe-to-Toe Preview - A complete breakdown | Bloody Elbow (2023)

Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski co-headlines UFC 245 this December 14, 2019 at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, United States.

One sentence summary

David: Making a list. Check-left-hooking it twice

Phil: Blessed throws down with down-under’s doughtiest disputant


Record: Max Holloway 21-4 | Alexander Volkanovski 20-1

Odds: Max Holloway -175 | Alexander Volkanovski +155

History / Introduction to the fighters

David: Holloway’s 28?! Damn. I often forget that he fought Conor McGregor while he was carried in a portable bassinet. Which makes McGregor’s accomplishment of fighting 18-wheeler-sized Nate Diaz (if you believed Dana White’s incredulity) pale by comparison. Holloway is the octagon man without fear. Not only is he defending his title, but he’s put his reputation on the line going up in weight. All this does is add to the Holloway mystique. I’m glad Edgar was his last fight because it feels like the deserved reprieve (no disrespect to Edgar) from the usual diet of heavy-handed strikers he’s been dealing with.

Phil: Holloway has been nothing more or less than the epitome of an action fighter on his way up through the ranks, from his slobberknocker with Leonard Garcia way back in the day, to his point-and-dare brawl with Ricardo Lamas, to that blood and guts slugfest with Poirier. So, like you said, it was something of a relief to see him take his foot off the accelerator for once, and have a clean, relatively safe points battle with Frankie Edgar. It gave me a bit more faith that Holloway’s championship career won’t be defined by burning brightly and briefly.

David: I didn’t see Volkanovski coming up. Volkanovski is like a lot of high-level technicians: just as they do against opponents, they sneak up on you. You could see the elements of his game that make him difficult to fight against, but not impressive enough to dominate. Even against Mendes, I wasn’t quite convinced. Mendes had AV on the run for a second there. That bout felt more like a tale of guts, germs, and steal rather than the starting point of an elite fighter’s journey. Then the Aldo fight happened. We’ll talk a lot about AV’s game and what makes him so special, but for now I just want to stand corrected. My view of AV always came from the perspective of a “hardcore” fan. “The director’s cut is way better,” I told myself incorrectly — think Blade Runner — failing to realize that Volkanovski is more than just the sum of his craft. He’s a cool groove, and dangerous AF.

Phil: Volkanovski is another one of those fighters who comes up without obvious blue-chip pedigrees (D1 or Olympic wrestling credentials, ADCC, striking accolades etc), and who has to prove his quality by simply beating very good opposition. He’s developed from being a pure pressure grappler and ground’n’pound fighter with some crafty and functional striking, and seems like a genuinely nice guy to boot. His “nothing wrong with being a nerd and a virgin” line got more appreciation than any line Covington has come up with, with a fraction of the effort.

What’s at stake?

David: The fate of the world. Just like in Mortal Kombat. Holloway can either cement his status as one of the best featherweights ever, or we are welcomed into the Volkanovski Era (per Joe Rogan, of course).

Phil: After the Edgar fight, it seems like Holloway can make featherweight (for now), so the question is basically that ephemeral one of legacy.

Where do they want it?

David: Holloway is a beauty in the center of the cage. He’s good everywhere else, but what separates Holloway from the pack is that he’s something of a dual threat: able to fire bullets from afar, or wield that Tommy Lee Jones magic from The Hunted, close quarter violence style. Not only does he jab, and strike in combination, but he does both while shifting in and out of placement. Or shifting stances. I think part of what makes his striking so dangerous is that his boxing is more than just a description; his style forces opponents into a tangible boxing match, complete with the attrition experience that mixed martial artists aren’t used to. Whether to the head or the body, he’s always active, and always giving maximum effort. He’s also become virtually impossible to take down while being a much-improved grappler. Sure he was mounted by McGregor, but the fact that he would later mount Aldo is telling to how seriously he takes the overall profile of a mixed martial artist. And yes, I know both grappling incidents occurred after heavy exchanges. Still…I think the big test for Holloway here is whether or not his style can evolve with his body’s natural decline. I know this decline stuff has been overblown, but the Poirier fight was brutal (though highly competitive), and the Edgar fight was telling.

Phil: Holloway is pretty much the most evolved offensive striker in the sport. He gradates his power, comes in at subtle angles, changes up his rhythm, and constantly mixes the three attributes together. He has one of MMA’s best chins, an inexhaustible gas tank, and has become a strong grappler and clinch fighter in his own right, prioritizing grip fighting and striking off breaks. His only small weaknesses have come from his own deep faith in his chin’s indestructibility, and the fact that when he is finally pushed back, he tends to do so without much regard for defensive nuance. Other than this, Blessed is pretty much a buzzsaw that steadily builds up into a crescendo.

David: I mentioned before AV’s unique craftsmenship. What stands out about Volkanovski is his ability to be both a pressure fighter, as well as a counter fighter. It’s one thing to shift in and out of styles. To pressure in one moment, and then counter in another. It’s another to form a double helix with multiple styles, as Volkanovski does. His pressure is simply the bloody yin to his leg-ripping yang. As he pressures with feints, and lead leg kicks, he relies on what his opponents give him. If they back up, he marches forward. If they attack, he resets or lands the counter. Volkanovski isn’t especially powerful. But he’s constantly moving. He’s always on the prowl, inside and outside the pocket. One of the rare moments of clarity and insight in the commentary booth of a UFC event was Volkanovski’s fight against Chad Mendes. Dominick Cruz began talking about comfort level, and how much energy Mendes was spending simply reacting to raw movement. I thought that was interesting, and worth pointing out because not only is it something I consider to be accurate, but it also highlights the unique Red Herring style that is Volkanovski. In terms of pure mechanics, Volkanovski isn’t one of the best or anything. He’s got quick, snapping punches, and his leg kicks are quick. Overall he’s primarily a fighter of proliferation, growing his arsenal out of existing material, and letting it expand as he gains more information. He does not, however, own the kind of guns that can end a fight like this.

Phil: Volkanovski has developed from a physical presence into someone who can make his presence felt without physical commitment. The diet of feints he fed Jose Aldo was initially comical: an overdone collection of shoulder jiggles and stomps as he wiggled his way into range. However, as the fight went on, they settled down and slipped away, and he started to sneak small and unheralded shots in. He built up a points lead, and then suddenly rushed in to pin Aldo against the fence. Aldo seemed shocked by the sheer mercenary gall of this plan, yet even when he started to swing against Volkanovski, the Aussie was able to handle himself in the exchanges. He doesn’t have the depth of Holloway’s skillset, but the pieces that he has are all high-percentage (jab, cross counter, left hook, catch-and-pitch and slipping counters) and he’s still an immensely strong and tireless fighter who can probably outwork pretty much anyone on the roster in tie-ups. If he shifts gears into a more aggressive mode, Volkanovski has shown himself to be a fearless, tough pressure fighter whose punching power on the feet has steadily caught up with his power on the mat.

Insight from past fights

David: Oh boy. This section could be its own article. I’ll start with the Aldo fights. Where Holloway was able to blitz a prime Aldo with range attacks and swarming punctuation, Volkanovski was able to make a faded Aldo flinch for five rounds. I know that makes it sound like Volkanovski was terrible, or something, but it’s not faint praise. Volkanovski was able to lull Aldo into a false sense of confidence, creating malaise instead of urgency with his movement, and lead leg attack. That takes skill. And it’s the kind of approach that happens a lot: think Jake Shields over Henderson, or GSP over Penn, etc. Fundamentals are a lost art. When your sport has high profile coaches actively rejecting simple basics, that kind of stuff trickles down. Volkanovski takes full advantage of this, and better yet; he has a broad scope of options to keep opponents guessing. I suspect that even a prime Aldo would have had trouble dealing with AV’s Will He Or Won’t He throw that punch/kick. Meanwhile, Holloway’s fight with Edgar says a lot about what happens when Holloway overthinks his strategy. I think the question for most people is whether or not Holloway felt he needed to adjust to Edgar’s style as a matter of tactics, or as a possible sign of his peak production window closing.

Phil: Both of these men are blood’n’guts action fighters who had measured, point-winning performances against aging veterans in their last fights. I think the main thing is that they both know they can’t do that again: they both know that the guy they are facing is something different when it comes to the level of pace and commitment required by the modern game.


David: Nothing worth mentioning here. After all, neither one of these guys cut off their legs to make a lower weight like Aldo.

Phil: One thing which did surprise me is that while Volkanovski is much shorter than Holloway, he actually has a slightly longer reach. It means that Edgar-Holloway fight in particular might be a bit less illustrative than we thought.


David: I just think the key here is Holloway being able to use his reach and punish Volkanovski from range. As good as Volk is, he’s not the kind of fighter who can threaten with power at range. Even as he’s able to bait out certain strikes, he can’t close the gap with the type of aplomb he’ll need to win this bout. Max Holloway by TKO, round 4.

Phil: I’ve been immensely impressed with Volkanovski’s adaptability, and there is a gameplan here for here: push Holloway back with combinations and force him into the fence, rinse and repeat. The question is how he starts those combinations: I don’t think he can blitz, and can he survive long jab exchanges with one of the most adaptable lead hand fighters around? I think it’s going to be bloody but Max Holloway by unanimous decision.


Why did Max Holloway pull out of Volkanovski? ›

Volkanovski and Holloway were due to face each other in a highly-anticipated trilogy fight for the world title at UFC 272, but Holloway pulled out after aggravating a previous injury.

Has Max Holloway beaten Volkanovski? ›

Max Holloway was down after his third loss to Alexander Volkanovski but that doesn't mean he's out of the title picture much less giving up hope that he will eventually earn a fourth fight against the reigning UFC featherweight champion.

Who won the judges scorecards for Holloway vs Volkanovski 2? ›

All three judges scored it 50-45 for Volkanovski (25-1) in the co-main event of UFC 276.

Why couldn t Max Holloway fight? ›

NEW YORK -- Featherweight champion Max Holloway has been declared medically unfit to fight and has been pulled from the UFC 223 card at Barclays Center on Saturday night. Holloway was scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC's lightweight championship.

Did Volkanovski beat Holloway twice? ›

Champion Check-In: Alexander Volkanovski's Chase For Greatness. After Beating Max Holloway Twice, Alexander Volkanovski Hopes To Achieve G.O.A.T. Status In The Near Future.

Has Max Holloway ever been knocked down in the UFC? ›

Holloway has cemented himself as one of the most durable fighters to ever set foot in the Octagon. In his 30 professional fights 'Blessed' has only lost a handful of times and has never been knocked out.

Who won Max vs Volk 3? ›

Alexander Volkanovski beats Max Holloway by unanimous decision to retain featherweight title at UFC 276.

Who has defeated Max Holloway? ›

Volkanovski (25-2 MMA, 12-1 UFC) already has defeated Holloway (24-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) three times, with their trilogy at UFC 276 his most definitive win.

Who won Volk vs Holloway 1? ›

It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+. Up-to-the-minute UFC 245 results include: Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 50-45)

Who dropped out of Volkanovski fight? ›

Former featherweight champion Max Holloway pulled out of his title rematch against current champ Alexander Volkanovski after aggravating an injury Thursday, according to ESPN's Brett Okamoto.

What were the judges scorecards for Ngannou vs Gane? ›

Ngannou edged Gane on the scorecard 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 to retain the UFC heavyweight belt. Is Jon Jones next?

What happened to Max Holloway eye? ›

Max Holloway took a severe blow on his left eye and was left bleeding throughout the fight. As soon as the fight ended, he was rushed to the hospital. Holloway took the blow during the second round and was brutally cut above the left eye with a right hand.

Why did Charles Oliveira lose to Max Holloway? ›

Unfortunately, because of an apparent shoulder/neck injury to Oliveira during a takedown attempt early in the first round, the Brazilian was unable to continue. The fight was officially ruled a TKO victory for Holloway but one without any sort of solidified conviction.

How many times did Max Holloway lose? ›

Holloway believes that he should have won four of the seven fights he's lost, including the first two with Volkanovski, the bout for the interim lightweight title with Dustin Poirier and a three-rounder at UFC 160 against Dennis Bermudez.

How much did Volkanovski make vs Holloway? ›

In the rematch, Volkanovski earned $390,000.

Is Volkanovski the greatest featherweight of all time? ›

Alexander Volkanovski is ranked by ESPN as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He's never lost in the UFC, compiling an impressive 12-0 record since his 2016 debut. The Australian has won 22 straight fights and owns four successful title defenses as the UFC featherweight champion.

Which hand did Volkanovski break? ›

Alexander Volkanovski suffered a broken left thumb during last weekend's title defense against Max Holloway, the UFC champ revealed on social media Thursday night.

Who has the most knocked down UFC fighters? ›

At the same point in time George St-Pierre holds the record for most takedowns in the UFC with a total of 90 during UFC fights. In 2018, a total of 39 UFC events were hosted around the world featuring 474 fights.

What is the best Max Holloway fight? ›

Holloway's Six Greatest Fights
  • UFC 212. TKO3 JOSE ALDO. Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS. ...
  • UFC 231. TKO4 BRIAN ORTEGA. Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS. ...

Who has taken the most strikes in UFC history? ›

Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has landed the highest number of significant strikes in promotional history with a total of 2975 so far. Second guy on that list is Frankie Edgar with 1801 sig strikes in 30 UFC fights.

Who is the only person to beat Alexander Volkanovski? ›

In 2013, he suffered the only loss of his professional career, losing in his fourth career fight after making his mixed martial arts debut the year before. The defeat came against Corey Nelson when the pair faced off in the Australian Fighting Championship 5 in Melbourne.

How much did Volk make in his last fight? ›

Per the UFC 276 UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance payouts provided by MMA Junkie, Volkanovski made about $42,000 in his last fight, a trilogy bout against Holloway.

Will Max Holloway retire? ›

The former featherweight champion has revealed that he will continue to fight until he's 35 years of age. Once he turns 35, Holloway doesn't plan on sticking around much longer.

What is the net worth of Holloway? ›

Max Holloway has an estimated net worth of $10 million as of 2023. Holloway has earned a significant amount of money from his UFC fights and endorsements.

How much does Bruce Buffer make? ›

Bruce Buffer completed 25 years in the UFC promotion as the octagon announcer in 2021.
Bruce Buffer Net Worth.
NameBruce Anthony Buffer
Bruce Buffer's Net Worth$12 Million
Age (2023)65 Years
Salary$50,000-$100,000 per event
1 more row
Jan 2, 2023

Who is the MMA fighter in Hawaii Five 0? ›

Taylor Wily (born Teila Tuli, June 14, 1968) is an American actor, former sumo wrestler and mixed martial artist. He is from Laie, Hawaii and is of American Samoan descent. He is commonly known for his recurring role as Kamekona Tupuola on Hawaii Five-0.

Who did Holloway fight? ›

Main Event: Max Holloway (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) defeats Arnold Allen by Unanimous Decision.

How many fights has Max Holloway won? ›

Max Holloway Record: 24-7-0
winMax Holloway Cole MillerU-DEC
winMax Holloway Akira CorassaniKO/TKO Punch
winMax Holloway Clay CollardKO/TKO Punches
winMax Holloway Andre FiliSUB Guillotine Choke
24 more rows

Does Holloway still fight? ›

Former undisputed UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway is back to the winner's circle after a masterful unanimous decision victory over fellow ranked contender Arnold Allen in his last fight in the main event of UFC Kansas City in April 2022.

Who was Alexander Volkanovski defended his title against? ›

Against Rodriguez, Volkanovski will be making his fifth featherweight title defense, having defeated former champ Max Holloway twice, Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung. He has held the belt since beating Holloway for the first time on Dec. 14, 2019.

Why was Ngannou stripped? ›

UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, has been stripped of his title and released from his contract after failing to accept a new contract offer.

What is the most lopsided scorecard in UFC history? ›

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Petz made his UFC debut at Ultimate Fight Night 6 against Sammy Morgan. He won via unanimous decision with one of the judges scoring the fight 30-23 including one of the only 10-7 rounds in UFC history. This is the most lopsided scorecard for a three-round fight in UFC history.

Who is the only guy to beat Adesanya in kickboxing? ›

The two already have a heated rivalry, with Pereira boasting two wins over the Kiwi champion, which has set the stage for one of the biggest fights in UFC history. Here's everything you need to know about the kickboxing champion who is the only man to have knocked out Israel Adesanya.

Did Max Holloway pull out of fight? ›

Per ESPN's Ariel Helwani, Holloway pulled out of the fight due to concussion-like symptoms, which resulted in a visit to the emergency room Monday. Holloway also thanked Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens following a report that they nearly replaced him and Ortega on the UFC 226 card.

How much did Max Holloway make vs Volkanovski? ›

Holloway made about $390,000 in his first fight against Volkanovski and $280,000 in the second fight as a challenger. In his last fight against Yair Rodriguez, Holloway took home $491,000.

How did Max Holloway get cut? ›

The UFC featherweight champion opened up a gruesome cut directly above the left eye of the challenger with a right hand in the second round. The cut bled profusely, and its depth and width were concerning enough to potentially warrant a doctor's stoppage, but Holloway avoided one. How? Dr.

What disease does Charles Oliveira have? ›

During early childhood when Oliveira started to follow his dream and often play football, he suffered from severe illness. He felt pain in his whole body and was unable to walk normally. Doctors diagnosed this illness as rheumatic fever which affected his heart and lower body badly.

Who was the paralysed UFC fighter? ›

After Prichard was disqualified in the 9th round of the Terrel Williams fight, he left to go to the dressing room where he collapsed and remained in a coma for 221 days due to a bleed on the brain. He was subjected to repeated blows to the back of his head during the fight.

Who was paralyzed in the UFC? ›

The injury was so severe that it resulted in the left side of his body being completely paralyzed for four hours. Oliveira suffered the injury while shooting for a takedown against Holloway.

Who did Max Holloway defend his title? ›

Despite this, Holloway came back to the featherweight division and defended his featherweight belt against former champion Frankie Edgar and cemented his place at the top. However, this would be his last title win as Holloway then lost the belt to Alexander Volkanovski.

Who was Volk supposed to fight? ›

Volkanovski was scheduled to face Max Holloway for a third time on 5 March 2022, at UFC 272. However, a day after the announcement, Holloway was forced to pull from the event due to injury. Holloway was replaced by Chan Sung Jung and the title bout was moved to UFC 273 on 9 April 2022.

What is Max Holloway salary? ›

The former champion took home a $500,000 base salary and a $32,000 sponsorship bonus. However, if Holloway can win this weekend at UFC Kansas City, we expect him to reach close to $1 million with his base salary, win bonus, and a potential performance bonus as well.

How much money did Max Holloway make last fight? ›

Estimates indicate Holloway likely earned a base pay of $500,000, a win bonus of $500,000, and could receive an additional $50,000 performance bonus for a total of over $1 million for the victory.

How much is Volkanovski paid? ›

UFC 284 Fighter Pay: Alexander Volkanovski Set To Earn Over $1 Million - The Sports Daily. The query length is limited to 70 characters.

Did Max Holloway get stitches? ›

Having been checked over by the UFC medical team, Holloway was taken to hospital for stitches on the cut that form vertically over his left eyebrow. Volkanovski said after the bout: "Max Holloway is an absolute beast. I just proved to you that I want to be in this octagon as much as possible. "I want to be busy.

Is Max Holloway a BJJ black belt? ›

Although he's known for his high-paced kickboxing, former UFC featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway has leveled up in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


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