The COVID-19 pandemic meant Max Holloway had a less-than-ideal training camp for his rematch with Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251 in July. However, one benefit was that it opened Holloway’s eyes about sparring.
Because of the lockdowns in Hawaii, Holloway had no training partners and had to speak to his coaches through Zoom. Most of all, he didn’t spar for the first time which he viewed as major component for any training camp.
Of course, it didn’t seem to affect him during the fight as while he lost a close split decision, he performed much better than the first fight with many observers believing he had done enough to win.
And ahead of his upcoming January 16 fight with Calvin Kattar, Holloway plans on not sparring again simply because he suffers far fewer injuries going into a fight.
“I really loved how the last camp I didn’t spar,” Holloway told ESPN. “It opened my eyes. I get injured sparring a lot before fights and I felt great going inside that fight without sparring.
“… Sparring is like an ego trip. I understand you got to do something but you can figure out different ways to move and get it done. … During the whole training camp, it helped a lot to actually put our priorities straight. I got to take out some things, I got to add a little more things. It was just changing up the recipe and the last one, I thought went pretty well and we’re kind of sticking to it and we’ll see how this one goes.”
Holloway is known for dishing out plenty of damage as well as receiving his fair share in the process.
At just 28 years old, Max Holloway has absorbed 933 head strikes in his UFC career. pic.twitter.com/HvmFdCuh7c
— Scraptitude (@scraptitude) July 20, 2020
And more than anything, it looks like Holloway is going to continue not sparring for the foreseeable future as he wants to avoid any further long-term damage to his head.
“No, saving the brain,” he added when asked if he was sparring for this camp. “I want to be a guy who, third grade math is already hard, so I can only imagine if I was getting punched in the head and trying to help Mini Blessed.”
You can watch the full interview below: