UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar Preview & Predictions

Holloway vs Kattar Preview & Expert Predictions: Can Kattar Knock Off Former Champ?

After nearly a month off, the UFC is set to return to action on January 16 on ABC, marking the promotion’s first appearance on network TV since it was with Fox. It’s a big moment for the UFC and the card will be headlined with a pivotal featherweight bout between former champion Max Holloway and No. 6 contender Calvin Kattar. I have a preview and a prediction for each fight of the UFC on ABC: Holloway vs Kattar main card.

The first UFC card of 2021 also marks a return to the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, aka Fight Island, where the next three events will take place, beginning on January 16 and ending on January 23 with UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2.


This will be Holloway’s first non-title fight since UFC 199 in June 2016. “Blessed” fought for the belt in his next fight and has been in eight straight title fights, though he is coming off back-to-back controversial decision losses to Alexander Volkanovski.

Meanwhile, Kattar is searching for his first-ever three-fight winning streak in the Octagon, having had a trio of two-fight streaks snapped in the third bout. A win over a former champion in Holloway could move him to the top of the heap and set him up for a title fight later in 2021.

Online sportsbook Sportsbook has released the UFC Fight Island 7: Holloway vs Kattar odds and has listed Holloway as the -165 favorite, with Kattar coming back as a slight +135 underdog. This means you would have to bet $165 to profit $100 with a Holloway win, while a $100 bet on a Kattar win would profit you $135.

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Looking at the Holloway vs Kattar odds, our sports betting calculator tells us Holloway’s odds of -165 represent an implied win probability of 62.26 percent while Kattar’s odds of +135 have an implied win probability of 42.55 percent.

UFC Fight Island 7: Holloway vs Kattar Odds
  • Featherweight – Max Holloway (-165) vs Calvin Kattar (+135)
  • Welterweight – Carlos Condit (-175) vs Matt Brown (+145)
  • Welterweight – Santiago Ponzinibbio (-315) vs Jingliang Li (+245)
  • Middleweight – Joaquin Buckley (-285) vs Alessio Di Chirico (+225)
  • Middleweight – Punahele Soriano (+135) vs Dusko Todorovic (-165)
  • Prelims
  • Middleweight – Phil Hawes (-130) vs Nassourdine Imavov (EVEN)
  • Women’s Bantamweight – Wu Yanan (-120) vs Joselyne Edwards (-110)
  • Heavyweight – Carlos Felipe (-205) vs Justin Tafa (+165)
  • Welterweight – David Zawada (+225) vs Ramazan Emeev (-285)
  • Women’s Bantamweight – Sarah Moras (-205) vs Vanessa Melo (+185)
  • Featherweight – Austin Lingo (-235) vs Jacob Kilburn (+185)

New to betting on the fights? Check out our UFC betting guide to help you get in the action. Also, be sure to keep an eye on our UFC odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines.

UFC on ABC: Holloway vs Kattar Broadcast Information
  • Date/Time: January 16, 12 noon ET
  • Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Arena: Etihad Arena
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+, ABC

Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar Preview, Prediction & Odds

Fighter Odds
Max Holloway -165
Calvin Kattar +135

This is a really intriguing fight within the featherweight division. For Holloway (-165), a loss here would leave him in a bit of a gatekeeper position, though this isn’t the first time “Blessed” has been on a two-fight skid – he lost back-to-back fights in 2013 to Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor. As for Kattar (+135), he’s climbed close to the top of the division twice but lost to Zabit Magomedsharipov and Renato Moicano. A loss here may halt his chances of ever fighting for a belt.

Holloway: Need to Knows
  • Although Holloway has entertained since his debut against Dustin Poirier back in 2012, he’s still just 29 years old coming off two losses that easily could have gone his way.
  • Blessed is the definition of a volume striker, averaging 6.47 significant strikes per minute and landing at least 100 significant strikes in eight of his last nine bouts, including 290 vs Brian Ortega in December 2018. However, he also absorbs 4.52 significant strikes per minute.
  • Holloway always pushes forward but added in more kicks in his rematch with Volkanovski. He is fast, with a variety of strikes, and his main goal is to force strikes out of his opponent so he can counter or stand in the pocket and trade.
  • He also has good takedown defense, forcing his opponent to strike with him for the fight. The one area that Volkanovski exposed was in the kicking game. Holloway rarely checks kicks and it’s clearly an area he hasn’t worked on as much as his hands.
  • Holloway’s last three fights were Frankie Edgar (win – unanimous decision), Alexander Volkanovski (loss – unanimous decision) and Alexander Volkanovski (loss – split decision).
Kattar: Need to Knows
  • It didn’t take long for “The Boston Finisher” to climb up the featherweight rankings, scoring two wins before taking on Renato Moicano, who was a top-five contender.
  • Like Holloway, Kattar is a high-tempo fighter, averaging 5.01 significant strikes. His win over Dan Ige last July marked the first time he surpassed 100 significant strikes landed in a UFC bout. One issue, though, is that he takes more punishment than he dishes out, absorbing 5.66 significant strikes per minute.
  • With a 72-inch reach, he has a 2.5-inch advantage over Holloway. Although Kattar has a high output, his first round or so involves a lot of feints as he reads his opponents before going on the attack.
  • I really like the combinations that Kattar throws, often mixing up levels going to the head and body. At times, he will telegraph when he’s going to enter the pocket, storming in with a hook that can be countered heavily if read. However, he has never been knocked out and even if you crack him upon entry, he will still fire his punches.
  • Kattar’s last three fights were Zabit Magomedsharipov (loss – unanimous decision), Jeremy Stephens (win – knockout) and Dan Ige (win – unanimous decision).

Prediction: Max Holloway (-165) via decision

Carlos Condit vs Matt Brown Preview, Prediction & Odds

Fighter Odds
Carlos Condit -175
Matt Brown +145

After a five-fight losing slide that lasted five years, Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (-175) picked up a victory his last time out and eyes back-to-back wins for the first time since 2012. As for “The Immortal” Matt Brown (+145), he had his two-fight winning streak snapped in May when he was knocked out by Miguel Baeza.

Condit: Need to Knows
  • Almost nine years ago, Condit was the interim welterweight champion after beating Nick Diaz, setting up a unification bout with Georges St-Pierre in which he dropped GSP with a head kick. He has won just three fights in his last 11 walks to the cage.
  • The Natural Born Killer is primarily a striker, averaging just 0.55 takedowns per 15 minutes and landing just one over his last six fights. On the feet, he averages 3.69 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 2.52. Of his 31 pro wins, 28 have been finishes, with 15 knockouts and 13 submissions.
  • Condit is a patient fighter, typically chipping away at his opponent at distance with kicks, looking to throw his hands when his foe engages with him. He doesn’t tend to keep his hands high in the pocket, leaving him vulnerable to a heavy shot.
  • Condit’s last three fights were Alex Oliveira (loss – submission), Michael Chiesa (loss – submission) and Court McGee (win – unanimous decision).
Brown: Need to Knows
  • Like Condit, Brown had a stretch into 2014 in which he was on a seven-fight winning streak, landing him a main-event fight with Robbie Lawler. But he has struggled since, dropping six of his last nine bouts.
  • The Immortal averages 1.60 takedowns per 15 minutes, though he’s secured just two over his last six fights while relying on his striking power. Of his 22 pro fights, 20 have been finished, with 14 knockouts and six submissions. He has also been submitted 10 times.
  • Brown is aggressive, backing his opponent against the cage with his long straight jab that he uses to set up his powerful right hand. At times, he will rush in to close the distance as he’s winging shots at his opponent, which is an exciting but dangerous way to fight.
  • Brown’s last three fights were Diego Sanchez (win – knockout), Ben Saunders (win – knockout) and Miguel Baeza (loss – knockout).

Prediction: Carlos Condit (-175) via decision

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Jingliang Li Preview, Prediction & Odds

Fighter Odds
Santiago Ponzinibbio -315
Jingliang Li +245

It has been over two years since we saw Santiago “Gente Boa” Ponzinibbio (-315) in the Octagon scoring a fourth-round knockout over Neil Magny in November 2018. On the other side, Jingliang “The Leech” Li (+245) has only fought twice over the same period, most recently falling via unanimous decision to Magny in March 2020.

Ponzinibbio: Need to Knows
  • Some may be unfamiliar with Ponzinibbio and understandably so since he has fought just once since the start of 2018. That said, “Gente Boa” does carry a seven-fight winning streak into this bout and at one point was in the conversation for a title fight.
  • Ponzinibbio is a great striker, averaging 4.27 significant strikes per minute, and has outstruck each of his last seven opponents. He also makes opponents miss 64 percent of their strike attempts.
  • He is very aggressive, cutting off the cage effectively and backing his opponent against the cage. The moment his foe stops moving, he starts to throw with crisp straight punches and powerful kicks. At times, he will take a punch to land a punch, which can be a dangerous game to play.
  • Ponzinibbio’s last three fights were Gunnar Nelson (win – knockout), Mike Perry (win – unanimous decision) and Neil Magny (win – knockout).  
Li: Need to Knows
  • The Leech has been on a tear in his own right too, winning seven of his last nine fights with five performance bonuses over that stretch.
  • Li mixes up his attack well. For most of his UFC career, he was known for being a striker but more recently, he has secured five takedowns over his last three bouts. He averages 4.51 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 3.69.
  • He is a patient fighter, typically trying to draw attacks out of his opponent and looking to counter. When he fights other patient fighters, he will at times try to go on the attack and overextends his strikes, leaving him vulnerable to counters. His kicks are the key to success as they set up his hands and give him confidence.
  • Li’s last three fights were David Zawada (win – knockout), Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (win – knockout) and Neil Magny (loss – unanimous decision).

Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio (-315) via decision

Joaquin Buckley vs Alessio Di Chirico Preview, Prediction & Odds

Fighter Odds
Joaquin Buckley -285
Alessio Di Chirico +225

It has been a rough stretch recently for Alessio “Manzo” Di Chirico (+225), who is heading into this bout on a three-fight losing skid after winning three of his first five fights in the UFC. He’s in tough with late-2020 rising star Joaquin “New Mansa” Buckley (-285), who has won back-to-back fights by knockout, including his finish of Impa Kasanganay, which many believe was the knockout of the year.

Buckley: Need to Knows
  • Buckley’s UFC debut didn’t go as planned when he took on fellow rising star Kevin Holland and was knocked out in the third round. However, his impressive two knockouts since have definitely turned heads.
  • Nine of New Mansa’s 12 pro wins have been by knockout, while two of his three defeats have come in the same manner. He has outstruck his last two opponents after being doubled up on strikes in the Holland defeat.
  • The southpaw fighter is explosive when he recognizes that his opponent has missed the mark on a strike, looking to counter heavy and end the night. Buckley throws a nice straight left and he does a good job moving off the centerline to avoid much damage coming back.
  • Buckley’s last three fights were Kevin Holland (loss – knockout), Impa Kasanganay (win – knockout) and Jordan Wright (win – knockout).
Di Chirico: Need to Knows
  • Manzo has had his best success bringing fights to the floor, averaging 1.66 takedowns per 15 minutes, but he has failed to secure a takedown in his last two fights.
  • Nine of Di Chirico’s 12 pro wins have been finishes, with five by knockout and four by submission, though he has just one win by finish in eight UFC bouts. He has been outstruck in each of his last three fights as well.
  • The orthodox fighter moves well and has nice low kicks that he uses to draw an attack out of his opponent so he can counter. He tends to be somewhat one-dimensional in that he looks to counter and throw a right hand followed by a left hand looking for the walk-off knockout.
  • Di Chirico’s last three fights were Kevin Holland (loss – unanimous decision), Makhmud Muradov (loss – unanimous decision) and Zak Cummings (loss – unanimous decision).

Prediction: Joaquin Buckley (-285) via decision

Punahele Soriano vs Dusko Todorovic Preview, Prediction & Odds

Fighter Odds
Punahele Soriano +135
Dusko Todorovic -165

Two undefeated alumni of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series will open up the main card. Dusko Todorovic (-165) earned his contract in August 2019 and won his UFC debut in October to move to 10-0. Punahele “Story Time” Soriano (+135) got his contract in June 2019 and made short work of Oskar Piechota in December 2019 but the 7-0 fighter didn’t compete in 2020.

Soriano: Need to Knows
  • Soriano’s decision win over Jamie Pickett on DWTNCS was not only his first fight to go the distance, but his first fight to go beyond the first round. In his UFC debut, he knocked out Piechota in the first.
  • Story Time isn’t just a striker, though, as he has four takedowns over his last two fights. He has really good kicks and is an aggressive fighter who doesn’t give his opponent a lot of room to breathe. At times, he gets trigger-happy and overthrows, leaving him open to counters. But if he lands, he does big damage.
  • Soriano does swing for the fences but is fairly accurate when he’s in tight. At distance, he’s fairly sloppy and raw.
  • Soriano’s last three fights were Jhonoven Pati (win – submission), Jamie Pickett (win – unanimous decision) and Oskar Piechota (win – knockout).
Todorovic: Need to Knows
  • Like Soriano, his only decision victory came against Teddy Ash in his DWTNCS appearance, while he finished his other nine counterparts. Todorovic maintains a crazy pace for his opponents that can make them wilt while he continues to throw strikes at them.
  • He throws great combinations when he’s in the pocket, looking to push his opponent against the cage, almost like a Randy Couture approach. To get on the inside, he tends to throw a nice lead hook, but if he misjudges range, he can be found standing with his hands low and open to punishment.
  • Todorovic is a tricky fighter in that he fights in bursts, standing fairly flat-footed when he knows he’s not in danger. But when the distance closes, he throws a flurry of power punches.
  • Todorovic’s last three fights were Michel Pereira (win – knockout), Teddy Ash (win – unanimous decision) and Dequan Townsend (win – knockout).

Prediction: Punahele Soriano (+130) via decision

UFC on ABC: Holloway vs Kattar Best Bets

Fighter Odds
Max Holloway -165
Carlos Condit -175
Santiago Ponzinibbio -315
Joaquin Buckley -285
Punahele Soriano +135
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