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Volkanovski (20-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) takes on UFC featherweight champion Holloway (21-4 MMA, 17-4 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 245 for the title, and with both fighters known for marching their opponents down, Volkanovski thinks Holloway’s pressure will work to his advantage.
“I’m going to approach things a little bit different,” Volkanovski said during Wednesday’s UFC 245 athlete panel at MGM Grand Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. “Just the things that he does so well, and what’s worked for him so well in his past fights, are just things that I don’t believe are going to work as well with me. Obviously he’s got his punching in volume, his gas tank, and all these sort of things. These are things that I don’t believe are big threats to me. Obviously, I’ve got the gas tank. If he really wants to come forward at me and try to break me, he’s just going to fall into my game, and I’m too powerful for him to force that sort of game plan on me.”
Unbeaten in the UFC, Volkanovski will look to snap Holloway’s 14-fight winning streak at 145 pounds. Few have been able to stop Holloway from imposing his will, but one man who was recently able to is former UFC interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier, who hurt Holloway early and found a lot of success throughout the five rounds.
That fight will serve as a bit of a blueprint for Volkanovski.
“Max’s game is that pressure – come forward, punch in volume. But Poirier was able to obviously stand his ground, and it was hard to really get Poirier on the back foot,” Volkanovski said. “Poirier was sometimes able to get Max on the back foot and capitalize on that – his fitness actually held up. He did slow down, but he was able to still bring some of them last rounds. It was a close fight, but again, like I’ve seen that if you don’t gas, which I know I won’t, you’re going to do well. But I believe I’ve got a lot of the tools.”
Holloway was able to rebound from his loss to Poirier with a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar in July. He was the much larger man and was able to neutralize Edgar’s wrestling.
But despite the height discrepancy, Volkanovski will actually have a reach advantage in their fight.
“This game’s evolving, and I’ve evolved with it,” Volkanovski said. “I believe that. I know a lot of people are going to say, you know, obviously Frankie’s got the wrestling and all that sort of stuff, which he does. But I’ve got that power, and I really know how to put it all together. And a lot of people are going to say that I’m going to have problems with the range and stuff like that. Believe me: When it comes to range, I’m very comfortable there.”
UFC 245 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.
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