Max Holloway will defend featherweight title at UFC 222 in Las Vegas

Updated January 8, 2018 - 5:32 pm

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will put his belt on the line against Frankie Edgar in Las Vegas on March 3 at T-Mobile Arena, sources close to the organization confirmed on Monday.

The bout is expected to serve as the main event of UFC 222.

Holloway had been scheduled to fight Edgar at UFC 218 on Dec. 2, but Edgar was forced to pull out of the fight due to a facial injury he suffered during training. Former champ Jose Aldo stepped in for Edgar and Holloway defended the belt with a third-round knockout.

The 26-year-old Hawaiian had won the title from Aldo six months earlier with a knockout in the third round in Rio de Janeiro.

Holloway has won 12 straight fights since a unanimous-decision loss to Conor McGregor in 2013.

Edgar, the former lightweight champion, has won two straight and seven of his last eight. He is 7-2 since dropping to featherweight with both losses coming against Aldo in title bouts.

He battered star prospect Yair Rodriguez for two rounds in May before the fight was mercifully stopped by the ringside physician.

UFC 222 also features a heavyweight bout between Stefan Struve and Andrei Arlovski and a middleweight bout pitting Hector Lombard against C.B. Dollaway. It is also expected to serve as the UFC debut of star women’s strawweight prospect and grappling ace Mackenzie Dern.

Tickets for the event go on sale Jan. 19.

Coach wants McGregor back in UFC

John Kavanagh expressed optimism Conor McGregor would compete in the UFC at some point this year.

During an interview with BBC Northern Ireland, McGregor’s longtime coach confirmed the fighter has been back in the gym over the last few weeks.

“I’m happy to see him back just regular training,” Kavanagh said. “He had a lot going on in his life, a lot of stuff outside of fighting was going on in his life. He seems to be getting the hang of all that. He’s back training almost everyday now.”

Kavanagh didn’t share any particular plans, but he indicated his preference would be for McGregor to compete in the cage after a 2017 in which his only fight was a blockbuster boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I think 2018 will be another big year for us,” Kavanagh said. “Exactly what that is, I don’t know yet. The plan is forming, but as they say, stay tuned.

“My opinion, I’ll be pushing very hard for MMA. The boxing was a nice detour from what we’ve done, but mixed martial arts is my passion. If I have anything to do with it, he’ll be in the octagon this year.”

Penne suspended

UFC strawweight Jessica Penne has been suspended 18 months for a violation of the organization’s anti-doping policy.

The sanction was announced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Penne’s out-of-competition test originally came back negative, but a review of her biological passport resulted in the sample being flagged for further analysis. It eventually showed the presence of an anabolic androgenic steroid.

Penne competed during the process and suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Danielle Taylor on the UFC Fight Night 108 card in Nashville on April 22.

The 34-year-old fighter identified to USADA a supplement she was taking on the advice of her physician, which proved to be the source of the positive test.

Penne faced a two-year ban, but drew the reduced penalty because the substance was taken under the care of a physician. She did not receive a therapeutic-use exemption.

The suspension is retroactive to April 23.

Sunday card on tap for UFC

Featherweights Jeremy Stephens and Doo Ho Choi will headline UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis on Sunday.

The main card, which also features a middleweight bout between veteran strikers Uriah Hall and Vitor Belfort, will air at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Las Vegan Jessica-Rose Clark will take on Paige VanZant in a women’s flyweight bout.

Lightweight Michael Johnson will headline a preliminary card that also airs on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m. in a bout against Darren Elkins.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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