Alexander Volkanovski is perhaps the most underrated fighter on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster.
Both fighters met again in a rematch in July 2020 when Volkanovski edged a narrow victory.
But even the most ardent of Holloway fans have to appreciate his sheer brilliance in their first bout.
With the exception of a handful of moments in the final three rounds, when he was caught with a couple of big shots, Volkanovski gave Holloway very few gaps to exploit, and largely controlled the fight with his leg kicks and excellent movement.
All-told, the Australian outstruck the Hawaiian by 157 to 134, while he also landed 51% of his significant strikes, according to data provided by UFCStats.com.
It was the perfect example of a gameplan executed to perfection.
Volkanovski, who improved to 21-1, said: “It was a tough one for me. I stay so composed in there. I’ve got a job to do, right? When I’m in there? I’ve always said that I keep myself level-headed and composed."
"Obviously, I thought I was winning, but I didn’t know. My corner did a really good job of letting me know that and not getting caught up into his game.
"My shins are a little sore, but my gameplan went well. So it was good. Again, I was saying, we’re both very high level. It was a chess match in there, and I got the job done.”
He added: "I tried to tell them I can stick to a gameplan and it's going to be a chess match and it was a chess match.
"I don't know what it looked like, I've got to watch the tape, but trust me there was a lot happening.
"We were trying to break each other's rhythm, I started going to the body and trying to mix it up, he was trying to mix it up, see what would work, and I just stuck to it."
UFC president Dana White said: "He looked good, and that market is massive for us, so maybe we do that rematch in Australia. I don’t know – that’s just off the top of my head.
“For Volkanovski to come in and beat Max Holloway, it’s a big deal – it’s a big deal to do that."News Now - Sport News