Off the back of a memorable weekend in Miami for UFC 287, more fireworks are in store in Kansas City for UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Allen. Featherweights take the main stage as former champion Max Holloway looks to return to winning ways against rising British star Arnold Allen.
Making this Holloway vs Allen prediction is a fascinating prospect. Holloway returns to the Octagon following his trilogy fight loss to champion Alexander Volkanovski last July and looks to maintain his incredible record in non-title fights. In his way is an Englishman in Allen, who is 10-0 since joining the UFC back in 2015 and looking to jump into title contention for the first time in his career.
There’s a lot on the line in Saturday’s main event, so let’s break down the matchup and offer our Max Holloway vs Arnold Allen prediction on what could be an epic clash.
Max Holloway Preview: How Much Is Left in the Tank?
It’s hard to believe that Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway is just 31 years old. Currently ranked #15 in the pound for pound UFC rankings, Saturday’s walk will be the Hawaiian’s 26th since joining the UFC back in 2012 at just 20 years old.
Unfortunately for Max, a win over Allen is still unlikely to grant him another shot at the featherweight belt he once had wrapped around his waist. Volkanovski defeated Holloway to take the title at UFC 245, and defended it in the rematch at UFC 251. Both were close fights that went the distance, but Holloway had to earn his third shot at the champion. Two decision victories over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez did just that, but Holloway again failed to overcome the Aussie in their third title fight, again losing by decision.
Volkanovski picked Holloway apart in the trilogy, establishing himself as a fighter in his own tier, but Holloway remains arguably the second-best fighter in the division. His victory over Kattar remains one of the most dominant performances in UFC history, with Holloway proclaiming to the relative silence of the UFC Apex mid fight that he was “the best boxer in the UFC baby”.
What Holloway has shown consistently throughout his UFC career is that he is prepared to go through hell for a win, and has a gas tank as deep as anyone on the roster. Going five rounds is no issue for the Hawaiian, which gives him an edge in our Holloway vs Allen prediction, given the Englishman has a lot less experience with this.
Arnold Allen Preview: The Long Awaited Opportunity
Holloway vs Allen is, by quite a margin, the biggest fight of Allen’s career. He has had to wait patiently for this sort of opportunity, and some were surprised Allen was left out of the interim title fight in February between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmet.
Allen only fought once a year during between 2015 and 2021, typically waiting for UFC Europe to swing around. However, Allen is now seemingly more ready than ever to make the leap to title contention as shown with his two statement victories over Dan Hooker and Calvin Kattar last year.
— Arnold billy allen (@Arnoldbfa) April 5, 2023
Allen, who is currently working under the wing of revered MMA coach Fires Zahavi, has struck up an allegiance with UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards in recent years, training alongside “Rocky” at the red-hot Team Renegade gym in Birmingham. At a time in which UK MMA has never been hotter, fighters feeding off one another could help Allen find an extra gear in Saturday’s main event.
Holloway vs Allen Prediction: Who’s Going to Come Out on Top at UFC on ESPN 44?
Holloway is the favourite in most Max Holloway vs Arnold Allen predictions coming into this fight, and understandably so. Max has shown in his UFC career that he is one of the best featherweights the sport has ever seen, and his longevity is incredible. And yet, he will always be haunted by the name Alexander Volkanovski.
One similarity both Holloway and Allen possess is their stamina, as shown by the majority of both fighters wins going to decision. Don’t be surprised this Saturday if Bruce Buffer is reading from the judge’s scorecards after the fight.
Unfortunately for Allen, that is where the similarities end. Allen has never fought a formidable featherweight contender despite his 12-fight winning streak. Allen is a fantastic fighter, but Holloway is on another level. Can the Brit elevate himself to this level? Absolutely, but it will be difficult against the experience of Holloway.
The Hawaiian has superior boxing, footwork and speed and possesses the ability, experience and confidence to dance around Allen and control the fight. Allen does hold the power advantage, but three rounds against Holloway is a hell of a lot easier than five rounds.
A stat to keep in mind however – Allen is a southpaw, and Holloway is 0-3 against southpaws in his career, albeit those losses were against Conor McGregor and twice to Dustin Poirier.
Holloway to Prove His Class at UFC on ESPN 44
In short, the analysis points our Holloway vs Allen prediction towards the former champion Max Holloway. Arnold Allen has been on a tear since entering the UFC but has not fought someone quite like Holloway in his young career. Looking at both fighters stylistically, we struggle to see how Allen blows open this fight. Yes, Allen’s power is there, but Holloway has one of the best chins in the entire UFC. Therefore, our Holloway vs Allen prediction is Holloway by decision.
If Allen is to cause an upset, he must start fast and unsettle Holloway like he did against Dan Hooker last year. The Brit landed almost 50 significant strikes in the 2 minutes and 33 second it took him to finish the fight. The longer the fight goes on, the more Holloway will become comfortable, and the harder it will become for Allen to pull off the upset.