In a surprising turn of events, the Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway UFC 206 matchup has now been propelled from co-main event, to headline act.
This comes after the original main event featuring a championship clash between 205lb reigning champ Daniel Cormier, and top contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was shelved due to “DC” incurring a torn adductor tendon.
But that’s not all.
Get a load of this: both Pettis (19-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) and Holloway (16-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) will be vying for the interim UFC featherweight gold to boot – something that came about as a result of Conor McGregor being stripped of the 145 belt he usurped from Jose Aldo via 13-second light ’em up and smoke.
The latest is, Aldo, who defeated Frankie Edgar for the vacant interim title, has now been promoted to featherweight champion proper.
Ok, now let’s get down to brass tacks.
The “Blessed” one Holloway is on a streak too hot to handle, and too cold to burn; 9-0 in as many outings for the UFC promotion. The fact that the Hawaiian hasn’t had a whiff of gold after laying waste to the division’ cream of the crop is egregious in itself.
Furthermore, asides from Jon Jones (13) and Demetrious Johnson (11), the Gracie Techinics combatant stands alongside 155 murderers row resident Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson as the only other two active fighters on the UFC roster advancing towards double figures.
On Dec. 10, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada – the 24-year-old will attempt to hit double figures when he squares off against Pettis.
“Showtime” Pettis’ highlight reel kick against Benson Henderson at WEC 53 to annex the 155 strap will not be one for time immemorial, but a thing of pulchritude to be admired long after we trade air for dust.
Though, that was five years ago, since then, the Duke Roufus Taekwondo expert has gone on to capture the UFC lightweight strap. Following one successful defense, the Milwaukee native coughed up his belt to Rafael dos Anjos. Two fights later, Pettis found himself on a three-fight skid – the hot seat beckoned.
Rather than chance it with a fourth defeat on the trot, he elected to test the waters of the 145ers. It paid off, as he guillotine choked bjj wizard Charles Oliveira in the final frame.
Warranted or not (Santa Claus came to Wisconsin), the featherweight neophyte now sits pretty; one fight away from the division’s Holy Grail.
As earlier intimated, Holloway is on a tear, both literally and figuratively – a streaking 10-0 awaits.
Conversely, Pettis intends to set his mark in the division… and enforce it.
Both have styles that compliment each other – striking, and both are adept in that department as well.
Who takes this on the feet is anyone’s guess, but just to jog your memories, Pettis, 29, has never been stopped – period. Holloway, however, has one submission loss on his ledger, and Pettis is a ground merchant when he needs to be.
In the world of MMA, winning streaks akin to those of Holloway and Ferguson are bound to end; mostly in a cataclysmic sort of manner. Hey! It was the Celestial Governors who decreed it that way; a curse (Pettis) if you will.
For either fighter, there’s all to gain, but a humongous amount to lose. However, the upshot – Holloway’s blistering streaking days will screech to an abrupt halt when Pettis takes him to submission city, thus cursing the “Blessed.”