Ex-UFC featherweight world champion Max Holloway is on the fence when it comes to who leaves Madison Square Garden with the 205-pound title wrapped around their waist this weekend.
The promotion makes its highly anticipated return to MSG in NYC for a 30th-anniversary line-up headlined by a light heavyweight title tilt pitting returning former titleholder Jiri Prochazka and the ‘Brazilian Boogeyman’ Alex Pereira.
‘Poatan’ will be gunning for his second UFC title, having already climbed to the top of the middleweight division last year with a stunning fifth-round knockout of Israel Adesanya.
Offering his take on the highly anticipated clash between two of the promotion’s most exciting heavy hitters via his YouTube channel, Max Holloway expects to see a significantly improved version of Jiri Prochazka, specifically when it comes to his defense, which has been non-existent at times.
“I think someone gets finished,” Holloway said. “I think this fight might be fight of the night. I think this fight is going to come down to durability. I’ve been hearing a bunch of good stuff with Jiri’s fight week. I’ve been hearing stuff like his defense has gotten better. His head movement is better. He’s in a great space. This guy Jiri moves to the beat of his own drum and I’m super excited as a fan.
He continued, ‘The crazy thing in my mind is Jiri’s striking is not so polished and when a very good striker fighters someone who’s not too polished, it sometimes kind of confuses you. Like when we see boxers go over to MMA and they say the MMA guy is weird. His fighting style is weird. That’s how I think this one is going to be. I think Jiri can give a lot of problems to Alex where Alex could be tripped up by it.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 9, 2023
Max Holloway Believes Alex Pereira May Have to Upper Hand at UFC 295
As for Alex Pereira, ‘Blessed’ believes ‘Poatan’ may have the upper hand at UFC 295 via his coach and close friend, Glover Teixeira, who competed against Prochazka in one of 2022’s most exciting contests.
“Alex is a beast and he’s the fastest guy in the UFC to fight for two different titles in two different weight classes,” he said. “Other guys did it, but I think he’s the fastest. He did it in seven fights. The next closest to him is nine. It should be crazy.
Holloway added, “I think Alex might have the upper hand in this fight just because Glover [Teixeira] got the share the Octagon with Jiri before and I think Glover could give him some insights on what to expect and what to think. Glover and Alex are two different fighters, but knowing someone who fought someone and who can give you some information. They can tell you how strong they feel, or the weirdness that they might come at you with, it’s always good. Every bit of information is super helpful.”
Holloway expects both fighters to come out doing what they do best, but ‘Blessed’ stopped short of picking a winner, believing the fight is going to be very tough for both men.
“I think Jiri’s going to come out and try to make a statement and Alex is going to do what he does best,” Holloway said. “Stay calm and look for his left hook. Look for his right hand. Hit that front low leg kick a bunch and go from there. I think it’s gonna be crazy. It’s gonna be a tough fight for sure.”
Watch the full video below: