Derek Brunson vs Kevin Holland – which UFC middleweight will prevail?
This weekend’s UFC main event is a middleweight bout between the number 7 ranked Derek Brunson and number 10 ranked Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland.
In what is sure to be an entertaining fight, whoever wins will climb the UFC middleweight rankings and look to compete with the best of what this stacked weight class has to offer.
With a professional MMA record of 21-7-0 – currently holding a 3-fight win streak – Brunson is an elite wrestler (former NCAA D2 wrestler) as well as a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
Not only does Brunson love to wear his opponents down with his suffocating wrestling, but the 37-year-old is also an aggressive boxer whose big left hand can cause trouble for anyone in the middleweight division.
Both of these strengths were on full show in his last fight against Edmen Shahbazyan – a fight he won after a TKO early in the third round.
Despite Shahbazyan tagging him in the first round with some big shots, Brunson’s 4 takedowns to go along with his 60% significant strike accuracy eventually wore Shahbazyan down – who was lucky to survive Brunson’s onslaught late in the second round.
Meanwhile, Brunson’s opponent is the thrilling, non-stop talking UFC middleweight, Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland, who holds an MMA record of 21-5-0.
All 5 of the wins on his current streak came in 2020 – tying the UFC record for most wins in a calendar year.
A black belt in BJJ, a 2nd degree black belt in Kung Fu and a history in kickboxing, Holland is a great all-round fighter who can defeat you on the mat as well as standing.
Holland’s light footwork allows him to throw big quick counter-strikes that can catch his opponents off-guard as well as being able to land big knees in clinch situations (an example of the latter came in his win against Anthony Hernandez).
Holland’s last fight was particularly impressive – earning him the Performance of the Night bonus. Whilst on his back against experienced wrestler Jacare Souza in the first round, Holland was able to get the TKO whilst getting up after throwing bombs with his hands to get the finish.
UFC Fight Night prediction – Holland will be too quick for Brunson
Although both of these UFC middleweights have elite knockout power as well as the ability to take the fight to the ground, I believe the speed and variety of attacks from Kevin Holland will be too much for Derek Brunson.
That’s with no disrespect to Brunson, who has multiple first round TKOs in his UFC career. However, his aggressive boxing style can leave him susceptible to counter-strikes, which as previously mentioned, is something that Holland is particularly good at.
I feel if Brunson is to stand a better chance at winning this fight, he needs to try and wear Holland down just like he did to Shahbazyan – boxing, shoot, repeat.
However, with 5 wins in 2020 alone, we know that cardio isn’t something that Holland struggles with. Furthermore, Holland’s black belt in BJJ should help him against a strong wrestler such as Brunson.
In addition, as Geoff Neal said to DAZN in regards to Holland “his style really throws people off” as well as adding “it’s not just his style of fighting, it’s his mannerisms in the cage. It gets to you”.
Regardless of the result, I – and definitely you should too – will be tuning into this UFC middleweight bout with much anticipation. Whose win-streak will end?
PREDICTION – 3rd round TKO by Kevin HollandLeave a comment