UFC 223 Preview: Nurmagomedov v Holloway

Max Holloway has stepped into replace Tony Ferguson at the last minute, after Ferguson suffered a freak injury in the lead-up to the highly anticipated bout.

This is now the fourth time that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been forced to cancel their bout.

With Holloway stepping into the ring, the news could have huge implications on the rest of the division and especially Connor McGregor.

There were calls for ‘The Notorious’ to get back into the Octagon sooner, but Holloway could now follow in his footsteps by becoming the second man in UFC history to hold the two belts McGregor was forced to give up.

McGregor will return to the UFC and will face the winner in a massive title fight in September.


Main Events
Khabib Nurmagomedov v Max Holloway
Holloway to win by KO ($8)

Max Holloway has made the huge call to step in for Tony Ferguson on six day’s notice to fight Khabib Nuragomedov.

Ferguson hasn’t lost a fight since a match-up with Conor McGregor in 2013 and has gone on a run of 12 consecutive wins that includes two defences of his title.

The Hawaiian has proven himself to one of the stars of the UFC, in the absence of McGregor and the lure of following in the Irishman’s footsteps has proven to be tempting and a serious risk to his legacy.

Holloway is moving up in weight with less than one week’s notice and against one of the most physically imposing fighters in the division.

While it may seem like a risk in the short term, Holloway has everything to gain by taking this bout. His title is not on the line and he has the opportunity to cement himself as one of the main drawcards in the UFC if he can upset.

Khabib has built a fearsome record in the division with a run of nine wins and is the heavy favourite to beat Holloway. Khabib has built his reputation on a unique fighting style, but Holloway has nothing to lose and has the chance to pull off a huge upset if this bout goes the distance.

Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Namajunas by KO ($5)

Rose Namajunas defends her strawweight title against the woman she deposed for the crown, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

The duo originally clashed last year in New York and Jedrzejczyk was on the verge of matching Rhonda Rousey’s title defence record when she was upset by

Namajunas with a first-round knockout.

Jedrezecjczyk was granted the opportunity to win her belt back immediately and she faces the toughest assignment of her career. Namajunas will rely on her brutal striking ability and a unique style that has given her an imposing 8-3 record.

Jedrezecjczyk has spent far too much time in the past attempting to unsettle her opponent in the lead up without much success.

Expect Namajunas to deliver a repeat performance as the new queen of the division.

Main Card
Renato Moicano v Calvin Kattar
Kattar to win ($1.65)

Calvin Kattar is set to take on Renato Moicano in a relatively even featherweight clash.

Kattar is entering the bout with an impressive ten-match winning run, while Moicano was on the end of the first loss of his professional career when he submitted to Brian Ortega at UFC 214.

Moicano still carries an impressive record, with wins over marquee names that include Zubaira Tukhugoiv, Tom Niinimaki and Jeremy Stephens.

Kattar has been impressive in his previous UFC appearances and Kattar will have an advantage if he can take this to a decision.

While Moicano will be looking for a take-down, Katter’s superior striking ability will give him an advantage and is good value in the market to get the win.

Michael Chiesa v Anthony Pettis
Chiesa to win ($1.77)

Lightweight veterans Anthony Pettis and Michael Chiesa go head to head in a crucial clash for both fighters.

Pettis is struggling to remain relevant in the division after being on the end of a number of close calls that saw him drop out of the contention for a title shot.

Chiesa has based his game on his striking ability and his ability to change things up with a close-range takedown.

Chiesa’s will be looking to use his superior wrestling ability to keep him in the ascendancy.

Pettis has shown the ability in the past to be a dangerous kickboxer and will be looking to avoid being pinned to the fence.

A win for Chiesa will see him climb back up the rankings, while a loss for Pettis will confirm that his time in the UFC has come to an end.

Al Laquinta v Paul Felder
Laquinta to win ($1.80)

Laquinta returns to the UFC to defend his top ten ranking in what shapes as one of the most intriguing bouts on the card.

Laquinta’s career has been thrown into chaos by contract disputes and now has the opportunity to climb further up the rankings.

Laquinta has been an impressive record with four of his last five wins coming via knockout. Laquinta excels in both striking and wrestling ability but Felder has the skills to make his life difficult.

Felder has won his last three fights but the step up in competition may prove too much for the Irishman.

Laquinta should be able to find his groove to get the decision over Felder.