UFC Fight Night 53 (October 4, 2014)
Max Holloway Vs Akira Corassani
Winner – Max Holloway Via Round 1 KO
Tony Ferguson pulling out of UFC 223 is one of the most disappointing, frustrating and saddening moments I have felt as a combat sports fan. This is the fourth time that the highly anticipated matchup between Ferguson and Khabib has fallen through and is by far the most impactful. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the UFC in trying to put together this matchup. After the fourth consecutive cancellation, this feels like less of a setback and more of a death – the death of one of the greatest fights to never happen.
The only silver-lining to this whole situation is that the current Featherweight Champion Max Holloway, on barely a week notice, will be stepping in to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight title. In an era of more show less fighting – with fighters holding up divisions and picking fights – Max Holloway is a shining example of what it truly means to be a fighter. Holloway is putting everything and nothing on the line at the same time all in an effort to be the best. That is exactly what this sport is about and why fans fall in-love with it in the first place. Max isn’t trying to pick a favourable matchup, protect his win streak or collect a bigger paycheque, he is trying to be the baddest motherfucker he can be. If that means fighting one of the most feared fighters in the world, a weight class above your own, on a weeks notice than ‘It is what it is.’
The craziest part about Max Holloway taking on this ridiculous challenge, on short notice, is that he might actually be able to pull it off. Obviously, he’s not the likely pick and if he is going to win it will be one of the hardest fought wins of his career. That being said, Max possesses all the tools you would want your fighter to have if tasked with the challenge of defeating Khabib. His endurance, pace, mentality and striking all matchup well against Khabib the only issue is, can he implement all of these tools to the best of his ability, on a weeks notice, coming off an injury? The odds are not even close to being stacked in Holloway’s favour but you would have to be a fool to completely count him out of this fight.
Regardless of how this fight plays out Max Holloway is going to end his career as one of the greatest fighters of all time. He is and will always be one of the most loved fighters in the sport, not only for his in-cage ability but for his attitude and mentality towards this beautiful thing we call combat.