UFC 236 took place over the weekend, with the UFC featherweight campaign Max Holloway coming short in his bid for a second belt. Holloway, by unanimous decision, lost to Dustin Poirier, who claimed the intermediate light title after a five-round thriller.
For Holloway, the result struck a 13-battle winning line dating back to January 2014. Prior to UFC 236, "Blessed" drowned the idea of a permanent move to 155 pounds due to the difficulty of making the 145 pound featherweight limit and the potential impact it have on health scars that forced him from fight 2018. Does the loss for Poirier change things? What did UFC 236 tell us about Holloway's prospects as a lightweight? MMA Junkie's Ben Fowlkes, Mike Bohn and Fernanda Prates turn off in this release of Triple Take.
Ben Fowlkes: Holloway is a great featherweight, but maybe just a very good lightweight ̵
1; which is good
Early in fighting with Poirier, you can see a pattern that takes shape. Holloway would come forward and look loose and light and relaxed, shoot off battle combinations and develop with confidence. Then Poirier would cook and stab him and send him back with one or two powerful strikes that made him think about his whole attitude.
This usually does not happen Holloway at featherweight. But then he was no longer featherweight, a fact that he was peacefully reminded several times in the first couple rounds.
To his credit, Holloway managed to make some adjustments when the fight went on. Still, Poirier always had that sledgehammer in his back pocket when he needed it. And when it wasn't enough and he needed a break from Holloway's stifling attack, he could stop the step with an attempt at the cage.
Feather roads can't do this to Holloway. At 145 pounds, he fools people into trying this strategy so that he can drown them with clean volume and stroke output. Odds are, most lightweights would not be able to do it for him either.
But top ten guys at 155 pounds? Yes, they can have the power and elasticity needed to beat him. Which, frankly, is not the worst that could possibly happen.
What happens if it turns out that Holloway is an elite featherweight, but only a very good lightweight? Wouldn't it just prove that we have weight classes for a reason? Wouldn't it give us more reasons to appreciate his will to give it a shot anyway?
If Holloway wanted to hang on easily, I'm sure he could. I don't see him beat guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson there, but it's not as if his stock released after this incredible fight with Poirier. I would even go as far as to say it, if you gave him five more rounds to work, he could figure it out yet.
All I say is what he does so well on feather weight does not necessarily transfer intact at lightweight. And that's okay. Maybe it should be expected.
Next page – Mike Bohn: It's no shame to lose Poirier, put light weight in place