Max Holloway makes pick for UFC 298 main event, says ‘there’s a reason they didn’t give me’ Ilia Topuria first

Max Holloway expects his three-time past opponent Alexander Volkanovski will walk out of UFC 298 as featherweight champion, and also feels confident that the promotion did undefeated challenger Ilia Topuria a favor.

Holloway, a former 145-pound champion before dropping the title to Volkanovski at UFC 245 in 2019, is scheduled to face Justin Gaethje in a lightweight bout for the “BMF” title at UFC 300. Topuria earned his shot after defeating Josh Emmett at UFC Jacksonville this past June, and many fans and pundits alike were calling for a fight between Topuria and Holloway before the 27-year-old got his title shot. However, the UFC pushed Topuria right to a championship opportunity — which in Holloway’s eyes, was a blessing for the Spaniard.

“There’s a reason they didn’t give me Ilia,” Holloway said at Friday’s UFC 300 Fan Q&A in Anaheim. “They wanted [Topuria] to make it to this fight.”

Volkanovski and Topuria will cap off Saturday’s pay-per-view card at the Honda Center in a highly anticipated contest.

Having shared the octagon with Volkanovski for 75 total minutes, and going 0-3 over three bouts against his biggest competitive rival, Holloway is siding with the champion to pick up title defense No. 6 when the octagon door locks.

“Volk [is my pick],” Holloway said. “Volk is hearing [the] chatter, Volk’s last fight and getting finished, and whatever, he’s hearing the old man talk. The guy has really got the dog in him. You guys will find that out [on Saturday].

“I think he finishes Ilia before five [rounds].”

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