UFC Fight Night: Holland v Brunson Preview, Prediction & Odds

UFC Kevin Holland

A year like no other for Holland

Derek Brunson will meet Kevin Holland in another edition of UFC Vegas in what is set to be a vital clash for the future of the middleweight division as the man of 2020, Holland, looks to build on his sensational five-fight win streak.

The "Trailblazer" took home an extraordinary amount of individual awards and accolades in 2020, the kind of which is unprecedented in most areas of the UFC, as Holland took home the Fighter of the Year from three separate MMA news organisations. At the same time, he also claimed Breakthrough Fighter of the Year for three other news outlets, three Performance of the Night awards from the UFC, whilst also taking the mantle of the most wins in a calendar year (5) for a UFC middleweight, which also tied him with the overall record alongside Neil Magny and Roger Huerta. A reminder that all of this came within 365 days.

Holland has since become one of the most talked-about fighters on the roster and after a devastating knockout over the legendary Ronaldo Souza from his back to take top position and ground and pound to the win, the American is looked at by many as the future star of the 185 division.

What has made Holland's rise interesting is not just the manner in which he has risen and the awards he has picked up, but how he has managed to get past a mix of up and comers and a legendary figure since losing to Brendan Allen. "Trailblazer" managed to TKO two rising stars in Anthony Hernandez and Joaquin Buckley, before wins over Darren Stewart, Charlie Ontiveros and Souza inside four months, forcing everyone to take note of him.

Despite being looked at as a knockout artist from his spectacular 2020 résumé, Holland still has five submission wins and four decisions victories across the 21 times he's had his hand raised. At the same time, he himself is yet to lose via TKO/KO, but the American has fallen to two submission defeats and four decisions losses, which will give hope to Brunson, who has six decision wins and three submission victories, including two unanimous wins in his last three bouts.

However, Brunson has been TKO/KO'd five times from his seven defeats, and with a man like Holland in such form, at 6/4, our pick is for the rising star to claim the TKO/KO win once more over an ageing figure in Brunson.

UFC Fight Night Odds

skybet betting tip

KEVIN HOLLAND TO WIN VIA TKO/KO @ 6/4

Still something left in the tank for Brunson

As alluded to, the long-standing UFC star is now 37 and facing a rising star who looks to just be getting started, is perhaps the worst fight for him. Brunson, however, is on another three-fight win streak, which is only the second time he has done so in his 11-year career since he lost his first bout after nine straight wins to Kendall Grove at ShoFight 20.

The American famously won his first six bouts via a stoppage inside the first round, but since Brunson joined the UFC in 2012, he has had just two main event slots in his career. In fact, the 37-year-old has quite extraordinarily never made it into the fourth round of a fight in his career, and with 12 TKO/KO wins, this might be the only manner in which he beats a black belt in jiu-jitsu like Holland.

With wins over Ian Heinisch, Elias Theodorou and Edmen Shahbazyan in the last two years, however, Brunson has been significantly less active than his opponent, but all three have been in convincing fashion since his TKO loss to Israel Adesanya.

Considering he has never gone past the fourth round and is nine years the elder man to Holland, it's tough to make as big of an argument for Brunson as his challenger. However, with "Trailblazer" registering four decision wins and two of them being split decisions, there is a clear path to victory for the MMA veteran here: drag Holland into the deeper waters and finally test his endurance over 25 minutes.

On the other hand, though, with a second degree black belt, his evasive style and admirable agility, he might just be too much for Brunson to even get close. But, if the All-American wrestler can do so, Holland will be in for a test he hasn't witnessed since his loss to Allen, where he tapped due to a rear-naked choke.

Our pick for this fight is a Holland TKO/KO, but with Brunson's power and longevity, it's important to note the 4/1 price for him to win in this fashion too. However, if you're backing Brunon in this bout, the decision at 7/2 is our tip, but in truth, neither fighter is prepared for a five-round fight if their records are anything to go by.

UFC Odds

skybet betting tip

DERECK BRUNSON TO WIN VIA DECISION @ 7/2

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