Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is set to return for the UFC’s first event of 2021. The promotion announced on Tuesday that Holloway will be returning in the main event against rising contender Calvin Kattar on January 16, 2021, the first event of the upcoming year.
The Blessed Express returns!
— UFC (@ufc) November 17, 2020
The former champion Max Holloway will be making his return after falling short and dropping a unanimous decision to Alexander Volkanovski in a rematch back at UFC 251. Holloway previously dropped the title to Volkanovski back at UFC 245 in December of 2019. Both fights between Holloway and Volkanovski were very close, with the new champion being rewarded the decision victory in both, including a split decision in their last bout.
As for Holloway’s opponent, Calvin Kattar, this is the biggest opportunity not only of his UFC tenure but also his professional career, as the winner of this fight will likely become the top contender for Volkanovski who is likely to face Brian Ortega in his next title defense.
Kattar has reeled off two straight wins after dropping a fight to Zabit Magomedsharipov in November of 2019. Holding a professional record of 22-4, Kattar only has two losses inside the UFC while picking up wins over Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens, and most recently Dan Ige. A win over the former champion would cement Kattar’s place not only in the rankings but as a mainstay featherweight threat to anyone in the division.
This will be the first non-title fight for Holloway since 2016, when he went on an incredible four-year stretch of title fights including an interim featherweight title fight against Anthony Pettis, title fights against Jose Aldo, Brian Ortega, Frankie Edgar, and Volkanovski. Holloway also attempted to move up to lightweight when he challenged Dustin Poirier for the interim title at UFC 236, where he ultimately fell short.
With the reigning and defending champion Volkanovski seemingly set to face Brian Ortega next, Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar will meet on January 16 to determine who is next in line for a title opportunity in the featherweight division.