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UFC on ABC: Which fighters are headlining the first event?

Max Holloway takes on Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7
Max Holloway takes on Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7
Anwesha Nag
Modified 05 Jan 2021, 22:36 IST

UFC will return to network TV with the first event of 2021, headlined by Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar.

UFC's official broadcast partner ESPN confirmed earlier today that the main card of UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar will air live on ABC on January 16. With this bout, UFC is also returning to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, where they held a series of events throughout the lockdown period.

UFC back on network TV after two years

The last time UFC was on network TV was on December 15, 2018, when they were partnered up with FOX. The new deal with ESPN gave UFC access to the ABC network, through ESPN's parent company Disney, allowing them back on network TV.

ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Original Content Burke Magnus commented on the deal in a statement released by ESPN:

"We are excited to collaborate with ABC to televise the first UFC event of 2021, and the first-ever live UFC event on the ABC network. Fight Island has captured the excitement and imagination of sports fans worldwide and what better way to start the year than by simulcasting the main card of UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar on ESPN+ and ABC."

The headliner of the event, between former featherweight champion Max Holloway and the No. 6 contender Calvin Kattar, has been confirmed for a while.

Having lost twice to the current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in title bouts, Max Holloway will be looking to make his way back to victory with a win over Calvin Kattar.


Kattar, on the other hand, is on a two-win streak and has won four of his last five fights. He fought twice in 2020 - first against Jeremy Stephens and then against Dan Ige - and won on both occasions.

Recently speaking to MMA Fighting's Mike Heck on his show, Calvin Kattar praised his opponent by saying that anyone eyeing the featherweight gold should go through Max Holloway:

"I think anybody that wants to fight for the belt should have to go through Max (Holloway)... To bypass Max on the way to the belt just doesn’t make sense to me. If you want to be the champion, you have to take out Max Holloway on the way and I’ve got the opportunity in front of me."

Max Holloway has the longest winning streak (14) in the featherweight division, as well as the most wins (16) and most finishes (8) in UFC.

Published 05 Jan 2021, 22:35 IST
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