There’s no shame in losing to Max Holloway, but UFC President Dana White believes Arnold Allen would’ve given himself a better chance to win had he mashed down the gas pedal earlier in the fight, rather than waiting until the final five minutes to gun for the finish.
Allen’s 10-fight unbeaten streak in the UFC came to an end on Saturday after Holloway secured a unanimous decision win in a back-and-forth fight. With Holloway ahead on the scorecards, Allen’s coaches pushed the Brit to leave it all in the cage in the last round, which led to him getting more aggressive and throwing everything in his arsenal to look for the knockout.
Allen had arguably his best round during those exchanges, although Holloway made him pay with a late knockdown just before the final horn sounded. Still, White believes that Allen will probably be kicking himself when he re-watches the performance — and that Allen’s coaches deserve some of the blame for not lighting a fire under him earlier in the fight.
“I thought he looked good,” White said of Allen at the UFC Kansas City post-fight press conference. “He kept the pace, kept the distance, controlled the tempo of the fight. I thought that Allen looked incredible. If you think about it, it’s his first big night ever in a main event, the whole crowd’s against him and he came on too late.
“If he’d have fought the way [he fought] in the fifth round [from] the third round on, he would have had a better chance of winning that fight. I’m not a cornerman or a coach, but I think there should have been a sense of urgency earlier. But I’m not a cornerman.”
Despite the outcome, White praised Allen for giving Holloway everything the American could handle while also dealing with a hostile crowd in his first main event with a massive audience in attendance (Allen’s first headliner happened at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas).
That being said, White couldn’t help but mention the mistakes he believes Allen’s coaches made by not forcing a change in strategy after Holloway started to rack up points on the scorecards with his high-volume striking attack.
“Young guy, up-and-coming, gets ranked in the top 5 and he’s the main event in a place where the entire crowd is cheering against him,” White said of Allen. “It’s a lot of pressure for a guy. I thought he handled it well. He’s obviously talented enough. He went five rounds with Max Holloway, one of the best ever.
“I think he poured it on a little too late but I’m not his cornerman. I think there were a lot of mistakes made tonight in the corner. Obviously, he’s got that experience under his belt now and they’ve got to go back and figure out what went wrong and what was broken, and fix it and come back. He’s a talented kid.”
Even when it came time to discuss Holloway’s future, White kept thinking about what he perceived as mistakes made by Allen that he’ll likely regret sooner rather than later.
“I don’t know [what’s next for Max Holloway],” White said. “He won tonight and we’ll see where he goes from here.
“Like I said, he beat a young, super-talented guy that could have fought a different fight had he stepped it up a little sooner.”