Khabib Nurmagomedov picks Alexander Volkanovski over Max Holloway at UFC 276 because he has ‘more fire’

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Khabib Nurmagomedov sees Alexander Volkanovski sealing his trilogy with Max Holloway at UFC 276.

UFC featherweight champion Volkanovski (24-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) meets Holloway (23-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC) in a trilogy rematch to headline Saturday’s event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ABC/ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Coming off a dominant finish of Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 in April, Volkanovski will be making a relatively quick turnaround when he faces Holloway, and Nurmagomedov thinks that will play in his favor.

“About Holloway-Volkanovski, I must say I’m really impressed with Volkanovski about his last couple of performances,” Nurmagomedov told the UFC. “I like Max Holloway. I like him. This is nothing personal, but I think Volkanovski’s going to defend his title. It’s a question: how? Who knows. But I see he (stays busier), fights all the time, experience – maybe experience. Like a little bit more fire. I feel he has a little bit more fire than Max Holloway.”

Holloway almost faced Nurmagomedov for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 223 when Tony Ferguson was forced out of his title bout against “The Eagle.” Then-featherweight champ Holloway took the fight on six days’ notice, but was pulled by the New York State Athletic Commission doctors due to the severity of his weight cut.

Volkanovski dethroned Holloway to capture the featherweight title in December 2019. He has since defended his title three times, with his first title defense coming in a narrow split decision win over Holloway at UFC 251. Holloway was able to rebound from back-to-back losses to the champion by putting on striking clinics against top contenders Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez to set up the trilogy with Volkanovski.