Max Holloway has long been a prized prospect in the UFC, and the No. 2 featherweight contender can finally realize his dream of becoming a champion when he battles former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis for the interim 145-pound title at UFC 206 this Saturday in Toronto.
The 25-year-old Holloway has won his last nine fights, and he is a -200 betting favorite (wager $200 to win $100) to win the belt at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark, while Pettis (19-5) is listed as a +175 underdog (bet $100 to win $175).
The featherweight title was vacated by Conor McGregor due to his inactivity within the division and lack of interest in fighting any of the top contenders. That includes the young Hawaiian Holloway, who sits right behind only No. 1 contender Frankie Edgar and undisputed champ Jose Aldo in the official UFC rankings.
The winner between Holloway and Pettis will face Aldo to unify the titles sometime in 2017. Holloway’s last loss came versus McGregor via unanimous decision back in 2013. That was just the brash Irishman’s second appearance in the UFC while Holloway was only 21 years old.
Pettis was the reigning lightweight champ at that time as well before defending the title once and suffering three consecutive losses to prompt his drop to 145. The 29-year-old Milwaukee native submitted Charles Oliveira by guillotine choke in the third round of his featherweight debut at UFC on Fox 21 on August 27, snapping his three-bout skid and proving he was a force to be reckoned within the division moving forward.
In the co-main event, a pair of welterweights will duke it out in an effort to climb up the rankings. Donald Cerrone (31-7, one no-contest) is another former lightweight contender who switched divisions, only he moved up from 155 to 170 after losing his title shot to former champ Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC on Fox 17 last December.
Cerrone is 3-0 as a welterweight with three Performance of the Night bonuses to his name, which is one of the main reasons he is a big -280 favorite against the slumping Matt Brown (20-15).
A former top welterweight contender after winning seven in a row between 2012 and 2014, Brown has lost four of five to drop out of the Top 10. He is a +220 underdog and will be looking to push the pace in what could be a good bet for Fight of the Night.