Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway:
Mutual opponents: Anthony Pettis (W-W), Conor McGregor (L-L), Cub Swanson (W-W) (since their other common opponents were ages ago, I don’t see them as relevant. I’m only going to look at Pettis.)
**In both fights, Anthony Pettis was coming off of a win and took no substantial damage or knockouts in between. There is no reason to believe he was a different fighter in either case**
Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis: 12/10/2016 (Featherweight/145)
Round 1: Max spent the first half of the fight pressuring and taking the center. He then gave way to Pettis coming forward and he spent the full three last minutes trying to find his timing, which he finally did. Overall, Max took the round with the more effective last minute. Neither fighter landed big. On top of Max generally winning with aggression and then landing towards the end, he tended towards matching Pettis kick for kick and move for move, usually with greater impact.
Round 2: Max pressed forward and was the aggressor early. He is blitzing forward without intention other than forcing Pettis to respond and then he’s looking for the counter. He dropped Pettis with a straight that he set up with an inside low kick and blasted Pettis from a duck under as he tried to counter over the top. They resumed in the center, Max circling off and waiting for counters that he keeps trying to create. Pettis is catching on and now his timing and aggression has picked up with some success. He has Max on his back feet but he’s not keeping it going well enough to keep him there. Max has regrouped and re established control. He even clinched to mix up the timing. Max is back in charge and Pettis is trying flashy moves that aren’t working, he falls from an attempted hand stand spinning kick. Max is countering and circling away and Pettis is doing nothing in between other than giving irresponsible chase and losing the exchanges, although hardly. Pettis looked for a sweep off of one of Pettis’ blitzes but landed in a non threatening front head lock. Pettis has lost his aggression and Max has re established his way of forcing him to come in and then countering, minorly successful but he’s winning on points. Pettis, at the end of the round has initiated a clinch and sought a takedown unsuccessfully.
Round 3: Pettis came out as the aggressor and landed a few good body and leg kicks but Max overwhelmed him and ended that game plan, forcing him to slow the action and defend. Max landed a knee to the groin and they stopped the fight. Max came out aggressive after the stoppage, he’s landing more and clinching and landed an elbow on the break. He’s making Pettis miss with his wild sporadic attacks. He swept Pettis witha low leg trip and rather than engage too long, let him back up. He’s pushing the fight in close after blitzing with quick combos, seemingly just to get in. Pettis has an underhook and Max against the cage but he can’t land a take down, he took some shots inside the clinch and backed out. Max is controlling the ring, the pace and the attack. Pettis is still very much in the fight though and he landed a counter straight that backed Max up, momentarily. Another blitzing low leg trip from Max off of a stance switch, he lands knee on belly and takes side control, he immediately gets up with the threat of an arm bar. He’s out-landing Pettis who seems to be thinking about the trip now and losing his effective defense. Max lands a hard body kick and follows up with punches. He lands another hard and Pettis backs up, Max stalks him to the cage, landing over and over.
TKO round 3.
Summary: Max controlled the fight, mixed up his timing, his attack and his movement to keep Pettis off of his game. He finished but not in devastating fashion. Pettis looked bad but mostly because Max made him look bad.
Tale of the Tape: Dustin Poirier is 30 years old, 5 foot 9 inches tall, weighs 155lbs and has a 72 inch reach. Max Holloway is 27 years old 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 155 lbs and has a 69 inch reach.
The tale of the tape is a wash but, Max fights longer and probably actually has the longer reach considering the narrowness of his chest.
Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis: 11/11/2017 (Lightweight/155)
Round 1: Holloway opens up kicking and moving. He lands a few inside leg kicks. Poirier presses forward, measuring and throws a leg kick of his own. He counters Porier and backs him up against the fence to land a double leg takedown. Pettis has good control on the ground and even attempts a kimura but lets it go while Dustin lands and feels no threat that it will finish. Poirier stands up and Pettis lands an ankle pick sweep from the ground, he cannot keep Poirier there but pressures him against the cage where Porier lands more effectively. Poirier is keeping good pressure on Pettis and backing him up. He’s landing the better strikes but he’s also getting hit. He shoots a double and Pettis stuffs it and pressures him back against the cage. Poirier pressures and they end the round both throwing bombs against the cage. Poirier’s chin is holding up because Pettis landed three good shots square. Poirier won the exchange still.
Round 2: They take the center of the octagon and both land, Poirier is more square in his exchanges while Pettis circles out. They both seem to have trouble striking on the move. Poirier lands a double leg take down that Pettis seems to embrace to fight on the ground. He’s very aggressive, Poirier is hitting him but he’s throwing up swift submission attempts, triangle to arm bar, both Poirier powers out of lands bigger strikes and takes his back in a scramble, he lands a body triangle and tries to control the arms in between punches to sink a rear naked choke. Pettis is blinded by blood and reverses inside Poirier’s back mount into his guard. Blood everywhere, Pettis is throwing short elbows and landing. Poirier gives his back and Pettis gets too high and falls off but keeps Porier in his guard. It’s a sloppy exchange on the ground of switching positions and reversals . Finally, Poirier stands up with Pettis on his back again too high, he slams him and lands in his guard. The ref stops the action at a curious time, Pettis had a half triangle in but his eyes are too bloody to see. They clean him up and let him back in and they resume in Pettis’ guard. Pettis attempts triangles and Dustin throws strikes, both have success but neither threaten an ending. Porier escapes and winds up in back side control with Pettis’ left arm trapped, he throws bombs until the round is over.
Round 3: They’re both a bit tired but game to meet in the middles. Poirier presses a bit harder and Pettis defends until a double leg takedown against the fence. He threatens with a kimura but Porier presses through and tries to pass. Pettis gets up but Poirier controls his back he tightens the control as Pettis tries to roll out, he tries several times to establish a body triangle and finally does. He is fighting hard for a rear naked choke and as Pettis defends he slides in towards an arm triangle in mount. He misses the arm triangle but lands in mount and Pettis taps as he mounts. I’m not sure what from. It seems that the body triangle in mount caused too much pressure on his spine.
Official Prediction: Max Holloway will lose the first and maybe even the second round as he looks to establish his rhythm and find his range. Poirier may even knock him down. But, in the third and fourth, Holloway’s foot work and angles will be too much. He won’t be there for Poirier to shoot his charging double leg take downs and he won’t be in the pocket where Poirier wants to stand and trade. Max will always be at the end of Poirier’s punches and he’ll always slip outside of them and land in combos that Poirier won’t be able to handle all night.
Max Holloway: TKO 5th Round.