Holloway, Nunes eager to show championship form at UFC 245

LAS VEGAS — With a months-long barrage of trash talk and provocative posturing, Colby Covington and champion Kamaru Usman have infused their welterweight title bout at UFC 245 with political, racial and very personal overtones.

Before they get in the cage Saturday night, two of the UFC’s most durable, likable champions will entertain the mixed martial arts world without pandering or preening.

Max Holloway and Amanda Nunes are among the toughest and winningest fighters of their generation, and their latest title defences against Alex Volkanovski and Germaine De Randamie are both likely to be more entertaining than the main event bout between two wrestlers who sometimes talk better than they punch.

Holloway and Nunes aren’t complaining, however. They know controversy sells pay-per-views, and they’re not mad about being along for the ride on this main event that feels more like a sideshow.

“I got to talk a little bit less at the press conferences, which is cool,” Holloway said with a laugh. “Those guys, they’ve got stuff. I wish I was a little bit lighter and I could have grabbed my popcorn. Things are getting heated up.”

The T-Mobile Arena crowd is likely to be strongly behind Holloway, the genial Hawaii native who hasn’t fought in Las Vegas since 2015. His scheduled bout here last year was scrapped at late notice when Holloway exhibited symptoms of a concussion.

Holloway went back to work with a renewed focus on recovery and health, citing the examples of LeBron James and other elite athletes who spend millions on recovery and training.

“I’ve got some of the greatest minds in MMA behind me, and they make sure I’m good all around,” Holloway said.

Holloway was on a 13-bout winning streak against some of the sport’s best fighters until earlier this year, when he moved up to lightweight and lost to Dustin Poirier. Holloway rebounded with a featherweight title defence victory over Frankie Edgar, and his acceptance of another title defence against Volkanovski doesn’t mean he has given up multi-belt championship dreams.

“It’s not even the belts that intrigue me,” Holloway said. “It’s being the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world that intrigues me. Being the best in the world is not somebody who stays at a weight and dominates his weight. He’s willing to go to whatever weight. But I’m not overlooking Alex. When you overlook somebody, you lose.”

Volkanovski (20-1) has emerged from Australia as a serious contender for the featherweight title with 17 consecutive wins since 2013, including seven straight in the UFC.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City’s COVID-19 cases jump to nine from six

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

City of Red Deer trims staff by five per cent to deal with new economic realities

Downsizing of the municipal workforce will cut the annual budget by $7 million

Boys and Girls Club haunted house cancelled

Popular spookfest postponed because of pandemic health restrictions

Demand at Catholic Social Services jumps during pandemic

Provincial fundraising campaign launched

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

‘Unfathomable’: US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000

‘Unfathomable’: US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000

Senate GOP plans vote on Trump’s court pick before election

Senate GOP plans vote on Trump’s court pick before election

US execution planned of killer who said witchcraft drove him

US execution planned of killer who said witchcraft drove him

Atlantic City is leading a wave of female casino leaders

Atlantic City is leading a wave of female casino leaders

Snowbirds debate making southern migration during COVID-19 crisis

Snowbirds debate making southern migration during COVID-19 crisis

Study finds about one-third of Indigenous grads find work with Indigenous employers

Study finds about one-third of Indigenous grads find work with Indigenous employers

Canadian crude-by-rail exports fall to another eight-year low in July

Canadian crude-by-rail exports fall to another eight-year low in July

Inter Pipeline signs deal to sell majority of European storage business

Inter Pipeline signs deal to sell majority of European storage business

Most Read