A log jam at the top of the featherweight division has forced Max Holloway to patiently wait for a well deserved title shot . He is now 8-0 since losing to Conor McGregor which happened more than two years ago. The Hawaiian standout has improved leaps and bounds since his last loss and is looking to carry the momentum against a formidable foe in Ricardo Lamas. This is a huge fight for Ricardo Lamas as a loss to Holloway could potentially push him into featherweight obscurity.
Here is an in-depth breakdown of the fight based on stats and a few other x-factors. Enjoy!
The two fighters have almost identical records – Holloway 15-3 and Lamas 15-4 – however, the former has a slightly more impressive resume. Lamas has struggled recently, going 3-2 in his last five with both losses coming against fighters in the top five (Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo). Across the Octagon, Holloway has been on a tear over the past couple years, ringing off an eight fight win streak following his loss to Conor McGregor. His last three wins have come against stiff, top ten competition, including Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira and Jeremy Stephens.
It’s also important to mention that even though these two have roughly the same experience in the cage, Holloway is a full decade younger than Lamas. Holloway is one of the brightest up and coming stars in the division compared to Lamas who is a fighter on the decline.
Holloway will be the bigger man on Saturday night. He is three inches taller and will enjoy a two inch reach advantage in arm length as well as a three inch advantage in leg length.
Holloway’s game plan is no mystery, he will try to keep the fight at kickboxing range, using his footwork to exit exchanges on an angle, avoiding being caught by a big shot from Lamas. His length complimented by his technique causes big problems for a lot of smaller fighters in the division.
Holloway should have a sizable striking advantage over Lamas. His footwork and angles make it tough for opponents to trap him or find his chin with anything significant. Holloway is the more active of the two, throwing 26 strikes per round compared to 17 by Lamas. More importantly though is the gap in significant strikes landed; 23-11 in favour of Holloway. Lamas will have to find a way to bridge that gap in order to get the fight to the mat where he has a clear advantage.
Holloway does an incredible job of mixing up his significant strikes; 16 to the head, 5.5 to the body and 1.5 to the legs per round. Conversely, Lamas lands at half the rate, often loading up on his strikes. Also, Lamas slows down as the rounds go on, albeit not a lot, but does fatigue as the fight progresses. Holloway is the complete opposite as he is fairly steady cardio-wise for the first two rounds, emptying the tank in the third frame of action.
Lamas needs to get close to Holloway. He cannot allow him to establish the jab and fight in his comfort zone. One way to do that is to utilize leg kicks. He is a sound kickboxer, averaging nearly five leg strikes a round. Conversely, Holloway allows just over four leg kicks per round, so they should be there for Lamas. If he lands some strong kicks early, he may be able to slow down the footwork, close the distance, push Holloway against the fence and grind out the 24 year old Hawaiian from the clinch.
Lamas lands 33% of his takedowns. He will need to hide his shots behind strikes. It won’t be an easy task though, Holloway uses his length very well and sports and 81% takedown defence. Lamas needs to get to Holloway with his strikes in order to open up things up for the takedown.
If Lamas is able to get the fight to the ground, he could potentially cruise to a unanimous decision victory. He has strong top control and a decent submission pedigree. He should be able to maintain top control if he can put Holloway on his back, but he will have to be mindful of Holloways submission game, which is often slept on because of his exceptional striking pedigree. Halloways has a strong guillotine choke and is aggressive off his back, but Lamas has a strong top game and has never been finished by submission.
Personally I think Holloway’s use of distance, his footwork and strong jab will be too much for Lamas. I predict Holloway will walk away with a third round TKO.