While attention is focused on the new main event between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, the main voice of the UFC is just as excited for the other two world title fights scheduled for this Saturday night.
More particularly, Jon Anik is fascinated by the co-main event of UFC 251 for the featherweight title of the UFC while Alexander Volkanovski defends against the man he dethroned at UFC 245, Max Holloway.
“When we sat down with” Volko “in Holloway’s first fight, he sort of had this feeling, like a lot of guys are starting their first UFC title fight against a longtime champion, that he was going to have to beat Max Holloway twice, “Anik told MMA Fighting when he appeared in a recent episode of What the hell.
Volkanovski interrupted Holloway’s impressive streak of divisional victories in 14 bouts by unanimous decision. “The Great” enters the first “Fight Island” event in an incredible 18-game winning streak dating back over six years. In fact, the last time the 31-year-old tasted defeat was in his fourth professional fight in May 2013.
While many fans and experts are focused on the adjustments Holloway will have to make to regain his title, Anik is equally captivated by Volkanovski’s game plan in his first title defense.
“I’m not saying that Eugene Bareman and the guys from City Kickboxing necessarily held back the first time, but they knew they were going to have to beat this guy twice,” said Anik. “Maybe a lot of people are focusing on Holloway’s adjustments and not thinking about Volkanovski’s game plan and how he would approach a second fight differently.
“I’m fascinated to see what the greatest featherweight of all time, Max Holloway can do to try to force the problem, and try to make it a different fight. “
In the first game, Volkanovski swept the first three rounds on all of the scoreboards. While one judge gave the stanzas of the championship to the defending champion, the others scored these heats 10-9 for Holloway.
Anik, certainly not a judge, takes the side of the first.
“Even if he joined late, one of these judges got 50-45 for ‘Volko,'” said Anik. “He gave Volkanovski the five innings and I saw him that way too. Maybe there was a ride for Max there late, but I saw an argument that Volkanovski had a clean sweep that night.
“Holloway has to make a lot of adjustments. I think Volkanovski will also come up with a modified game plan. Anyway, I’m absolutely fascinated by the championship games. “
The triple-headed championship on the island of Yas kicks off with a vacant bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and former 145-pound king Jose Aldo. “No Mercy” has won nine straight games – including six in the octagon – as he seeks to capture his first UFC title against a true game legend.
While there is a huge main event at the top of the bill between Usman and Masvidal, Anik reminds fans that there is a lot to love about this stacked UFC 251 card.
“For Petr Yan, what a stallion, man,” he said. “If he can beat Jose Aldo to start the Yan era, there is no better way to do it.
“As much as I have to do to get to Abu Dhabi in terms of nasal pads and everything, I can’t wait to see these fights take place on the island.”