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Dan Hooker: Max Holloway is ‘gonna get himself hurt’ if he pressures Alexander Volkanovski

Dan Hooker: Max Holloway is ‘gonna get himself hurt’ if he pressures Alexander Volkanovski

Dan Hooker: Max Holloway is 'gonna get himself hurt' if he pressures Alexander Volkanovski 3

Dan Hooker believes that a pressure-heavy approach could spell trouble for Max Holloway at UFC 276 this weekend.

Holloway returns to face UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for the third time after losing twice by decision already. Volkanovski defeated Holloway by unanimous decision in 2019 to claim the featherweight title. He has since defended the title three times, including a split decision win against Holloway in 2020.

Holloway, now at the age of 30, scored two unanimous decision wins in 2021 in what marked a return to form with two “Fight of the Night” performances. He outclassed Calvin Kattar first before then beating Rodriguez over five rounds.

In the Kattar fight, especially, Holloway displayed outstanding pressure fighting as he shattered long-standing UFC records for significant strikes landed (445) and significant strikes attempted (744), among others. Many fans feel that Holloway has made the necessary improvements since the last fight with Volkanovski and that the former champion may reclaim the title this weekend.

However, Dan Hooker, a training partner of Volkanovski’s at City Kickboxing in New Zealand, believes it’d only end badly if Holloway was to employ a similar pressure-heavy style against Volkanovski this time.

UFC 276 is a PPV event and will stream only on ESPN+ in the United States this Saturday night. Order the PPV here to watch every fight live.

Dan Hooker: Max Holloway is 'gonna get himself hurt' if he pressures Alexander Volkanovski 5

“I feel like the more pressure that he puts on Volk, the more trouble that he’s going to get himself into,” Hooker said on the latest episode of Submission Radio.

“This is why Volk has been very successful in the first two fights, is that Max kind of had that respect for him and kept his distance and didn’t try to just march in and walk him down like he has to a lot of other guys. Like you watch the Kattar fight and others, and he just kind of pressures them. And he hasn’t been able to do that against Volk. And Volk’s ready for him.

“If he wants to do that, if he wants to push Volk’s attrition, if he wants to pressure forward, I think he’s gonna get himself hurt, and I think he’s going to get himself into trouble. I think he just, it’s up to him – stand at distance and get outpointed, or pressure him and get your head blown off. Like, those are your two options, mate. Like, pick your poison.”

Hooker also shared insight into Volkanovski’s previous training camp for the second Max Holloway fight, stating that the Australian has enjoyed much smoother preparation this time around.

“Man, for that last fight, Volk was like heavily restricted there in Australia,” Hooker said. Like, he had to get his training partners approved with the government and it was a big headache leaving that camp to this camp. Unreal, like, him being able to freely bring his training partners into Freestyle, where he is over there. And then to pop over here for a week or a couple of days to get some training in with the boys over here. Like, his preparation is incredible. He’s looking better than ever.

“I feel like he’s at his 100 percent best here for this preparation, and I feel like it’s going to be just a different fight. I think he’s just gonna go out there and outclass him. And then yeah, what does he have left to prove in that division? That really leaves the door up for him to shift up to 155 and potentially get a crack at the belt.”

Dan Hooker: Max Holloway is 'gonna get himself hurt' if he pressures Alexander Volkanovski 5

Similar to the story of Jared Cannonier, who is competing in the UFC 276 main event against Israel Adesanya, Volkanovski, too, started his mixed martial arts career in a heavier division. Volkanovski first competed at middleweight before then transitioning to lightweight and now featherweight.

Speaking to The Body Lock in 2018, long before he was a UFC champion, Volkanovski commented: “I honestly believe that pound-for-pound, I’m the strongest fighter in the UFC.”

Hooker shares the same belief and feels that Volkanovski can beat the current lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira if that opportunity was to present itself next.

“155 Volk, 145 Volk, he can do exactly the same thing,” Hooker said. “He can do what he’s been able to do at 145 at 155. That’s something I truly believe. He could beat Oliveira, he can beat these guys. It would just be exciting for him to get his shot.

“And yeah, a lot of people will bring that up, ‘oh, it’s a division you’re in,’ or ‘Brad’s in your division’. It’s like, that’s why we’re different. I want them all the be successful, I want them all to win. Everyone will have their time, because there’s more than enough bodies out there and more than enough money for all of us to go and get fed. Yeah, I’m just excited to see it all come to fruition.”


Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 3 features on the UFC 276 main card. Order the PPV on ESPN+ to watch this fight and every main card fight live on Saturday night.

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