On paper this is a solid candidate for fight of the year. Both men in their absolute peaks after decisive victories fighting for the lightweight interim strap that means a ticket to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov later in the year. Max Holloway is stepping up to lightweight for this fight, which may be a factor.
Dustin Poirier is a very solid fighter wherever the fight goes, but he is primarily a striker, and a dangerous one. He has good boxing and kicks, and very heavy hands although he is not one of the fastest strikers. However he is always in good position with good leverage and this allows him to shine in exchanges even against faster fighters. He has a good grappling game, with serviceable takedowns and high level Jiu Jitsu to go with it. In fact he submitted Max Holloway the first time they met, though it was so long ago it does not even matter at this point when discussing this fight. He has been one punched knocked out by two bombers in McGregor and Michael Johnson but otherwise his chin has always looked good even in wars.
Max Holloway is a striker. That is it. He holds his own well wherever the fight goes but what he wants to do is strike with you and suffocate you with his ridiculous pace and volume. He is a high level striker with a great jab and sense of distance and mixes it to the body well. His takedown defense has been good until now although he has not truly faced a real high level wrestler yet. On the ground he has legit Jiu Jitsu and is a good opportunistic submission finisher.
How will this fight play out? Nobody knows. I can see 4 or 5 different scenarios here. Only in one of them Dustin is truly fucked, which is Max is able to outclass and outpace him on the feet while staying safe for a late stoppage in the championship rounds. If anyone finishes the fight early it will probably be Poirier who is a huge puncher at 155, while Max was rocked in two of his last three fights. I also feel Dustin´s takedowns could be a big factor here as well as his ground and pound. I think the value is on Dustin Poirier as the almost 3 to 1 underdog. The pick here is Dustin Poirier to win in rounds 4,5 or decision. We are covering the possibility of Poirier taking him out early poking Dustin by KO and also a little be ton Max winning in round 5 which is crazy odds for value, just in case.
Official pick: Dustin Poirier rounds 4, 5 or decision