Max Holloway (-220) Vs. Dustin Poirier (+180)
Mr. Violence returns to the octagon against Max Holloway, an underdog, which may seem strange seeing as Poirier actually owns a victory over Holloway. You can largely throw that fight out the window, however, as Holloway is not even close to the same fighter he was back in 2012.
Holloway enters on a 13 fight win-streak. It’s fair to assume we are going to get the best version of him, now that he is moving to lightweight. He doesn’t have to cut the weight that has seen him bring his body to the point of exhaustion, causing him to pull out of many fights. Holloway was always the largest fighter in the featherweight division, but he still maintains that size advantage over most lightweights without having to worry about weight-cutting. He should be faster, stronger, and may even show more power. Poirier is one of the most entertaining fighters on the roster, with wins over Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, and Eddie Alvarez, but none of those fighters had the IQ Holloway does. You’re going to have to hold your breath the whole time, but Holloway should get the job done.
Israel Adesanya (-180) Vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+160)
Distance, distance, distance. That will be the key here for Adesanya as he looks to improve on the model of Jon Jones. No one has been able to come close to providing a blueprint to test Adesanya, but if Gastelum gets back to his wrestling roots, he may have a path to victory here.
In truth, I just think Adesanya is that special and is on the path to being a once in a generation-type of talent that can be the face of UFC. A looming super fight with Robert Whittaker awaits the winner of the interim title here, and it will be a great one. Until I see someone provide a plan on how to beat Adesanya, I just can’t go against him.
In theory, this fight may have the potential to be a version of Stipe Miocic vs. Ngannou with Adesanya just not having anything close to the wrestling that Gastelum has, but he’s shown his get up game is top notch. This is his time, and let’s not forget Kelvin Gastelum goes through spurts where he looks plain dis-interested to be inside the octagon.
Eryk Anders (-175) Vs. Khalil Rountree (+155)
A changing of styles has shown mixed results for Rountree, as he’s gotten away from his wrestling and turned into a kill or be killed fighter as of late. It worked for the first fight he employed this technique knocking out Gokhan Saki quickly, but then suffered a brutal knockout loss to hyper prospect Johnny Walker.
Anders is more than willing to stand and bang if that’s the type of fight Rountree wants to go with, and he has the much heavier hands. Anders is better just about everywhere including the wrestling department as the former NCAA National Champion linebacker was also a standout wrestling star at Alabama. Anders has been in bad form, losing three out of his last four, but the time off should serve him well and help get him back on track.
Ovince Saint Preux (-105) Vs. Nikita Krylov (-115)
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: no one beats bad fighters with more flash than OSP. I just don’t know the version of Krylov we’re going to get here. OSP did introduce the Von Flue choke to the world the last time these two fought in 2014, but you’d have to think Krylov is ready for it here.
There’s way too many unknowns here, but I’ve always been a fan of fading OSP off a win, so I’ll pick Krylov.