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The Great Debate: Holloway vs Pettis

TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 08: (L-R) Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis face off during the UFC 206 Ultimate Media Day event inside the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel on December 8, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

By Cory Groeneveld and Justin Peck

We are back with another edition of the great debate. Today, we are debating the main event of UFC 206, Max Holloway vs Anthony Pettis. Cory Groeneveld will be debating for Max Holloway, while Justin Peck is taking Anthony Pettis.

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Why Holloway will win by Cory Groeneveld:

UFC 206 brings us a main event of Anthony Pettis vs Max Holloway for the interim featherweight title. There has been a lot of news lately surrounding the featherweight division. First started with UFC stripping Conor McGregor of his title in the division. Followed up with making Jose Aldo the new featherweight champion. So now that leaves us with Pettis vs Holloway for the interim featherweight title, and a shot at Jose Aldo to be the outright champion.
If you are looking for a 5 round fist fight,  I believe this fight has the makings for it. Holloway comes into the fight as the favorite according to Vegas odds. Don’t let that fool you though. Pettis can do just as much damage with his fists as Holloway can. But I think when the final bell is rung Holloway will come out on top and here is why I think that.

     As they say always go with the hot hand. Right now one of the hottest fighters in the UFC is Max Holloway. Holloway will enter the fight Saturday night on a 9 match winning streak. What’s impressive is the way he is winning. He is winning by TKO/KO, submissions, and going the distance with a couple decisions. Where the opposite can be said about his opponent Pettis. Pettis is 1-3 in his last four fights.
Major key factor of this fight is going to be striking. Max Holloway is going to throw and connect on a lot more strikes than Pettis will. I believe Holloway will connect enough to keep Pettis on his heels and keep him from trying to bring this fight to the mat.  But don’t look for Holloway to finish off Pettis with a TKO/KO. That’s because Pettis has a face of steel. In his full MMA career no one has been able to TKO/KO him. Look for both fighters to strike it out and go the full 5 rounds.
     My prediction for this fight is Holloway over Pettis by unanimous decision. I don’t see Holloway knocking out Pettis unless he lands a series of really good punches in a row in the first couple rounds. If we get into round 3 which I expect both fighters will start showing fatigue, especially Pettis who is fighting at 145 for only the second time,  and it will be punches being exchanged back and forth through rounds 4 and 5.
I predict Holloway wins by decision.
Why Anthony Pettis will win by Justin Peck

Anthony Pettis (#7) will face a big test when he steps into the octagon to face Max Holloway (#4) on Saturday.  Pettis looked to be at the top of his game from 2011 to 2014 picking up wins over Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon, Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson (for the 2nd time) and Gilbert Melendez. After these 5 straight wins, something changed when Pettis fought Rafael Dos Anjos (probable the broken bone in his face) and lost his belt in a unanimous decision. He lost to Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza, performing terribly in each fight, before finally getting back into the win column in August by submitting Charles Oliveira in the 3rd round.

Anthony Pettis is back. During his 3 fight losing streak, we saw a guy who didn’t look like himself in the cage. During his fight against Oliviera, we saw Anthony Pettis reborn. He was landing strikes at a 68% rate and almost had himself a knockout in the first round. When Oliveria recovered, many thought the fight was over and that Pettis gassed himself out of a victory going for the finish. In the first round, it ended up being Pettis who dug deep and squeezed his way to a victory. Heart was something that was a question mark for Pettis. He silenced his critics.

Max Holloway has been deserving of a title shot for years now. Max Holloway has not lost since he fought Conor McGregor. Max Holloway is a phenomenal fighter. He has excellent cardio; which is something Pettis must be mindful of. I expect this fight to stay on the feet; Holloway is not one to shoot for many takedowns. This bodes well for Pettis if it remains true, especially considering the additional weight he is cutting to reach 145. I expect Pettis to stay on the outside and try to stay away from Holloway in the first 2 rounds. After feeling Holloway out, and ideally finding his range, I expect Pettis to go for it all to start the 3rd round.  He’ll come out with an explosive shot to rattle Holloway and will finish the fight in the third round with a flurry of shots to his stunned opponent.

Anthony Pettis will shock the UFC world. It’s “Showtime”!

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