UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Holland: Derek Brunson vs Kevin Holland- Prediction and Analysis

Published 03/18/2021, 11:21 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 12: Kevin Holland celebrates his KO victory over Jacare Souza of Brazil in their middleweight bout during the UFC 256 event at UFC APEX on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


It is hard to pick a fighter who has had a better 2020 than Kevin Holland. Not only did Holland break multiple records in 2020, his five-fight win streak (four finishes) saw him earn a cool $150,000 in just performance bonuses. 

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‘Trailblazer’ will be aiming to take the next step in his career as he faces a veteran in Derek Brunson this weekend at UFC Vegas 22. Brunson himself has looked a man reinvigorated as is now on a three-fight win streak. Both men have a lot on the line, and the winner of the fight will most likely be the next in line for a title shot.

Ahead of this exciting middleweight clash, we take a look at each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses and a possible route to victory. 

Read: Eddie Alvarez not sure he will ever train Conor McGregor 

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Kevin Holland vs Derek Brunson will have massive implications on the title picture at middleweight 

Kevin Holland made his UFC debut on Dana White’s Contender Series in June 2018 with a win over Will Santiago Jr. ‘Trailblazer’ put the middleweight division on notice when he tore through five opponents in 2020 and became the first middleweight in UFC history to win five fights in a calendar year. In his most recent fight, he absolutely demolished veteran Ronaldo Souza. 

Derek Brunson has been in the UFC since 2012 and has fought the best of the best at 185-pounds. After a two-fight slump, Brunson bounced back impressively and is now on a three-fight win streak. Most recently, he secured an impressive stoppage win over Edmen Shahbazyan in August 2020.  

Trailblazer’, unsurprisingly, has secured most of his wins via T/KO (57%). He is an excellent striker and has landed an impressive 4.11 significant strikes per minute in his UFC career. Against Brunson, he will have a four-inch reach advantage that he will look to capitalize on to land significant strikes at will.

Holland also averages 2.04 takedowns per 15 minutes and 1.7 submissions in the same time period. Brunson, however, has a 100% takedown defense, and therefore ‘Trailblazer’ might find it difficult to take him to the canvas. Given his strength, he may not look to do so either.

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Brunson on the other hand has secured 57% of his wins via T/KO. He has landed an impressive 3.21 strikes per minute, but has absorbed 3.24 in return, which might be his downfall against Holland.

Brunson also averages 2.6 takedowns (26% accuracy) per 15 minutes and 0.46 submissions in the same time period. Holland’s takedown defense is 50%. Therefore Brunson might be better off taking him down rather than striking with him. However, he would have to be wary of his opponent’s prowess of landing a KO whilst on his back.

If Holland is able to keep the fight standing, he should be able to extend his win streak to 6-0. 

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Prediction: Kevin Holland via T/KO

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Kevin Binoy

842 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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