Lost in the hype centering around Saturday night’s UFC 199 main event and co-main event is an intriguing featherweight contest.
Yes, Luke Rockhold-Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt and Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber for the bantamweight strap are excellent fights and deserve the attention they are getting.
But Max Holloway and Ricardo Lamas just might steal the spotlight.
With the division on a bit of a stand-still at the moment, Holloway (15-3) comes in one of the sports hottest fighters. The 24-year-old has won eight straight since taking Conor McGregor – the UFC featherweight champion – to the scorecards back in 2013.
Included in his run are victories over Jeremy Stephens, Charles Oliveira, Cub Swanson and Cole Miller. Holloway has finished six of those eight opponents, including a third round submission of Swanson and a first round knockout of Akira Corassani.
It is likely that a ninth consecutive win will position him nicely behind McGregor and the UFC 200 winner of Jose Aldo-Frankie Edgar for the interim title.
Lamas, 10 years the elder of Holloway, is 16-4 and fought for the UFC belt vs. Aldo back in 2014. He took the Brazilian to the 25-minute mark, falling via decision.
Since that contest, Lamas has gone 3-1, losing only to perennial top contender Chad Mendes. He earned a recent decision over Diego Sanchez, submitted Dennis Bermudez two years ago and topped Hacran Dias after his defeat to Aldo.
Along with Holloway-Lamas, Dustin Poirier-Bobby Green, Beneil Dariush-James Vick and Jessica Penne-Jessica Andrade are all potential “Fight of the Night” candidates outside of the championship matches.