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Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway was intriguing enough when the fight was first announced. It was a three-round, non-title bout destined for just 15 minutes of furious stand up action.
But when Daniel Cormier was forced to pull out of his UFC 206 main event light heavyweight title defense against Anthony Johnson, Pettis and Holloway were moved up to become the new main event. That means 25 minutes for the interim featherweight title and a guaranteed shot at new undisputed champion Jose Aldo early in 2017.
It’s hard not to be excited about these new circumstances.
UFC President Dana White told Jim Norton and Matt Serra on Tuesday’s UFC Unfiltered podcast that former featherweight champion Conor McGregor will be out of action around 10 months. The last thing anybody wants is to see a division on hold for over a year when there are so many amazing contenders swimming at the surface.
Pettis, the former UFC lightweight champion, and Max Holloway -- riding a staggering nine-fight win streak -- like to strike. There won’t be much grappling in this one. Once the fight starts, these two are going to throw down and it will be Holloway’s speed and technique against Pettis’ experience and debilitating kicking game.
UFC Unfiltered podcast: Max on his historic win streak, in the company of legends
Holloway’s 841 total significant strikes landed give him the most in the history of the UFC/WEC featherweight division. That’s more than Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar and even McGregor himself.
As for Pettis, the Milwaukee product has totaled four career finishes from a kick, five of his six wins have been by finish and he’s never been stopped inside the Octagon.
Holloway vs. Pettis is the No. 1 reason to watch UFC 206 live on Pay-Per-View Dec. 10 at 10 p.m./7 p.m. ET/PT.
2 – Cowboy takes welterweight win streak to Canada
When Robbie Lawler was set to take on Cowboy Cerrone at UFC 205, the chances for absolute mayhem in the Octagon were off the charts. Cerrone vs. No. 14-ranked Matt Brown offers the same type of scenario.
Brown likes to go to war inside the Octagon and that works out perfectly, considering Cerrone is one of the most game and dangerous strikers pound-for-pound in all of MMA.
Since moving to 170 pounds, Cerrone has never looked better. He isn’t cutting a ton of weight and looks fresh on fight night. He’s moved all the way up to No. 5 in the division and now stands to gain a ton from a big win over Brown.
3 – Choi gets showcase spot on Pay-Per-View
When it comes to prospects in the UFC there may be none hotter than the featherweight division’s Dooho Choi.
The Korean power puncher has built a name for himself by finishing all three of his UFC fights by knockout in the first round. Choi sits just outside the Top 10 at 145 pounds and gets his first next level test in the form of No. 4-ranked Cub Swanson.
Team Jackson/Winklejohn’s Swanson is on a two-fight win streak and has been a perennial contender in the division for almost a decade, dating back to the WEC days. He has been refreshed after a brief slump in early 2015 and will test Choi’s power and endurance on fight night.
4 – Future of light heavyweight division free on FS1
In a superb bit of matchmaking, No. 8-ranked Nikita Krylov takes on Canadian fan favorite and No. 13-ranked Misha Cirkunov in the main event of the FS1 prelims.
Krylov is perhaps the hottest fighter in the sport that nobody knows about. He’s won his last five in a row and they’ve all been by finish.
As for Cirkunov, he’s a heavy hitter and a well-rounded fighter who has amassed a 12-2 record in MMA. Cirkunov has won all three of his fights in the UFC, submitting his last two opponents.
The winner here looks to make an immediate leap into contention at 205 pounds.
5 – FIGHT PASS features upstart Vannata
If you missed Tony Ferguson vs. Lando Vannata in July, it’s time to fire up UFC FIGHT PASS and check it out. “Groovy” took the fight on short notice and almost put an end to “El Cucuy’s” seven-fight win streak (at the time) that has since risen to nine in a row.
Must-see: UFC 206 FIGHT PASS prelims scheduled for Sat., Dec. 10 at 6:30 pm ET
Vannata brings punches in bunches and at 8-1 – combined with a more suitable opponent and preparation period -- look for Vannata to make some noise in Toronto against John Makdessi, who will be more than game to trade on the feet.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC