Hair apart, a special Max Holloway will likely be seen when he takes the octagon at Struggle Island in opposition to Alexander Volkanovski on July 11.

Though Holloway proclaimed the subsequent part of his profession to be the ‘Hair Period’ earlier than departing Oahu for Abu Dhabi, many are curious to see how the Waianae native will reply to relinquishing his featherweight belt to Volkanovski again in December.

In a dialog with KHON2 sports activities director Rob DeMello, ESPN MMA reporter Ariel Helwani says the rematch is an intriguing bout on the star-studded card.

“I’m so curious to see how Max Holloway appears on this combat, I’m so curious to see how Volkanovski appears on this combat in his first title protection. Typically while you’re the hunted versus the hunter, issues change,” Helwani stated. “It’s been some time since Max was the hunter and naturally, that is the primary time that Volkanovki has been the hunted.”

Helwani additionally famous that for the primary time, Holloway held a camp by which he didn’t spar or have a coaching associate on account of social distancing measures. The communication along with his coaches was held completely on a digital foundation.

Though Holloway has stated that he’s heading into UFC 251 as contemporary as he’s ever felt, there’s no true manner of figuring out if that has benefitted him till Saturday’s combat is over.

With an MMA document of 21-5, Holloway already has a profession’s value of accomplishments at 28 years previous. He received the UFC featherweight interim title on Dec. 10, 2016 with a win over Anthony Pettis and unified it with a win over Aldo on June 3, 2017. The belt was held on for 2 and a half years till Volkanovski (21-1) received it in a unanimous choice victory.

In between three official featherweight title defenses, Holloway had an opportunity to earn ‘champ champ’ standing however misplaced the interim light-weight championship to Dustin Poirier on April 13, 2019, snapping a 13-fight successful streak that lasted for six years.

“That’s supremely spectacular and there’s a case to be made that possibly if you happen to begin your profession just a little too younger, you tackle lots of harm and also you’ll type of burn out ahead of another fighters that begin just a little later,” Helwani stated. “I’m not subscribing to the notion that Max Holloway is over the hill or burnt out or something like that. … There’s nonetheless lots of combating left in Max Holloway for my part and I don’t suppose this can be a case of like, ‘Oh, if he loses the combat, he’s finished perpetually’ or something like that. Removed from it.”

UFC 251 may also characteristic Kailua’s Martin Day (8-3), who takes on Davey Grant (11-4) to kick off the preliminary card. UFC Struggle Evening 172 will likely be held 4 days after UFC 251, and it’ll even be held on Yas Island. It’s headlined by Haleiwa’s Dan Ige, who takes on Calvin Kattar (21-4) in a featherweight bout. At 14-2 general with a six-fight successful streak, Ige is experiencing a Holloway-esque rise by means of the featherweight ranks. Though Ige can also be 28 years previous, he doesn’t but have the identical résumé as his Hawaii counterpart. However a win on July 15, which might come shortly after his break up choice victory over Edson Barboza on Could 16, might open eyes and switch heads.

“He’s been quietly climbing the ladder as a result of he’s type of a quiet man,” Helwani stated. “He’s a little bit of a soft-spoken man and doesn’t actually puff his chest out all that a lot, though he did change his title to ‘50Okay Ige.’ I like ‘Dynamite’ higher if I’m being sincere as a result of I feel you have to be setting the bar larger than the $50Okay (Struggle of the Evening bonus). However I get what he’s attempting to do. That is big for him.”

If Ige retains successful, crossing paths with Holloway within the featherweight division might turn into inevitable down the road.

“If we get to the chance the place it’s Max Holloway as champion going up in opposition to Dan Ige as No. 1 contender and that combat isn’t in Hawaii, then I’ve misplaced all hope within the UFC Hawaii dream as a result of that may be the proper combat, proper? We thought there have been many alternatives for the UFC to go to Hawaii, we referred to as these alternatives good. However this would really be it,” Helwani stated.

Along with the three Hawaii UFC fighters competing this week, an emergence of outstanding fighters from completely different organizations have put the islands on the MMA map as effectively. Helwani has definitely come to realize an appreciation for them.

“I’m an enormous fan of not simply the fighters and the best way they compete, I’m an enormous fan of the best way they conduct themselves,” Helwani stated. “I do know we’re speaking about fighters now however I can communicate for all the state. You’ll by no means meet a impolite Hawaiian, you’ll by no means meet an obnoxious one. Hawaiians to me are so loveable, they’re so likeable, they’ve such nice spirit, they’re so heat as human beings and that’s the identical for all the fighters, not simply the UFC however in Bellator and the opposite organizations as effectively. We noticed my man Coconut Bombz (Maki Pitolo) lately, it simply looks like they’re consistently this tunnel of nice fighters coming from Hawaii to the foremost leagues of MMA, i.e. the UFC.

“Then you definitely go to July 15 and you’ve got Dan on the foremost occasion and rightfully so, he deserves to have that spot within the huge combat, it’s nice. There’s lots of nice fighters. For essentially the most half, it’s a good time and I pray that we get to see UFC Hawaii. Bellator’s finished a fantastic job capitalizing in the marketplace. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to me is one among, if not the face of Bellator. She’s one among their greatest stars, a homegrown expertise if you’ll who’s finished an incredible job of simply carrying their flag and what I really like about her a lot is that she’s so loyal to the Bellator model. You don’t hear that from lots of fighters, you at all times hear fighters discuss Bellator and different organizations nevertheless it looks like they at all times have a watch on the UFC. It appears to me like Ilima simply desires to combat for Bellator perpetually and retire as a Bellator fighter which I feel is de facto invaluable to them. So I hope we get to see Bellator again quickly and get to see Ilima-Lei again one among lately as effectively as a result of I feel that division is doing effectively too. They’re doing a very good job creating that division so there’s lots to love, there’s lots to be enthusiastic about as at all times and you may have a champion in a number of days as soon as once more.”