Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The first UFC event of the New Year is Saturday from the organization’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, and the headline bout of the Fight Night card is a featherweight matchup between former champion Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar, both Americans.
The main card starts at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised, interestingly, in the United States by over-the-air network ABC as well as simultaneously on ESPN+. One name for the card is UFC on ABC 1 as it’s the first time a UFC event will be broadcast on ABC, which, like ESPN, is owned by Disney.
The 29-year-old Holloway (21-6), ranked No. 1 in the division, won the interim UFC featherweight title at UFC 206 over Anthony Pettis and then unified the belt with a third-round TKO victory over featherweight legend Jose Aldo at UFC 212. “Blessed” won a rematch with Aldo at UFC 218 by TKO and successfully defended the belt again at UFC 231 with a victory over Brian Ortega.
Holloway then tried to become a two-division champion by taking on Dustin Poirier for the interim UFC lightweight belt but lost by unanimous decision. Holloway then returned to featherweight with a win over Frankie Edgar. Next up was a bout with Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245, which Volkanovski won by unanimous decision (Holloway was a -190 favorite) to take the belt. There was a rematch at UFC 251 and Volkanovski took that by very controversial split decision.
Thus, this will be the first time Holloway isn’t fighting for a belt since June 2016. He wins 48 percent of the time by KO/TKO and 43 percent by decision. Five of his six losses are via the judges. Perhaps Holloway gets a third shot at Volkanovski with a win here, and he’s a -160 favorite.
Kattar is a 32-year-old who is 22-4 and ranked No. 6 in the division. His nickname is “The Boston Finisher,” so that tells you where he’s from. Kattar has yet to fight for a belt in the UFC but would improve his chances of doing so by winning as a +130 underdog. Kattar enters on a two-fight winning streak, last beating Dan Ige by unanimous decision in July 2020 also on Fight Island.
That was Kattar’s first fight after signing a six-year contract extension with the UFC. Kattar wins 50 percent of the time by KO/TKO and 41 percent by decision. Three of his four losses are via the judges.