Alexander Volkanovski’s coach Eugene Bareman believes his and Max Holloway’s team took huge gambles going into their featherweight title rematch.
Volkanovski successfully defended his title against Holloway at UFC 251 this past weekend. Although their first meeting was clear-cut for Volkanovski, the second was much closer as Holloway dropped the champion in the first and second rounds.
“The Great” improved in the final three rounds but many observers felt Holloway had done enough to regain his title by the end of the 25-minute fight. However, two of the three judges saw it differently as Volkanovski earned the split decision win.
And for Bareman, it’s a relief that the chapter with Holloway is closed for now, especially given the short notice they had to prepare for him the second time.
“I had it by a whisker,” Bareman said on The Luke Thomas Show. “I’m very comfortable with that, nobody’s more happier than me to put this chapter behind me. If truth be told, I was probably the one guy on our team that when we got together on a Zoom meeting when the Max fight was being offered, I was the one that said, ‘nah.’
“Because it was just exhausting for me to study Max. Extremely hard guy to come up with a plan for in the first fight. Then we had short notice, we had several renditions we could have gone to but I knew we were limited in the scope that we could go to because of the time.”
Bareman: Holloway Team Gambled On Him Changing Drastically
Given the short notice, Bareman and his team decided not to change much going into the second fight with Holloway which was a big gamble in itself.
On the flipside, Bareman believes Holloway’s team also took a gamble on him drastically changing things up despite a not so ideal training camp. It looked like it would pay off going by the first two rounds, but in the end, Volkanovski just about edged it.
“They gambled on Max being able to completely change his style … they gambled on being able to teach Max all of that in the short amount of time they had versus just letting Max be Max,” Bareman added. “We gambled on not changing that much, just a few subtleties with the game plan, but not fundamentally changing that much.
“We gambled on that so we had two kind of opposite approaches and our approach was better by a whisker.”
You can watch the interview snippet below: