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5 reasons why Kevin Holland will defeat Marvin Vettori and inch closer to a title shot

UFC Fight Night: Hernandez v Holland
UFC Fight Night: Hernandez v Holland
Modified 09 Apr 2021

UFC on ABC 2 this Saturday is headlined by a battle of middleweight contenders. No. 6 ranked Marvin Vettori takes on late-notice replacement, the no. 10 ranked Kevin Holland.

The Italian Vettori is heavily favored by the bookmakers in Las Vegas to continue his winning streak but the enigmatic Holland cannot be counted out.

The American loves to stay active and this fast turnaround could be the perfect way to bounce back after his recent setback against Derek Brunson.

Let’s look at five reasons why Kevin Holland could upset Marvin Vettori.

5. Unpredictable ground game

In his last fight, Holland showed little to no defensive wrestling and was taken down with ease by Derek Brunson. After spending the majority of the fight on his back, Holland was given a tough wrestling lesson.

Big Mouth can only learn from the Brunson fight and show some more urgency in grappling situations. When he faced Ronaldo Jacare Souza, Holland displayed a dangerous and unpredictable ground game. He used strikes from the bottom to knock out the Brazilian BJJ world champion.

Holland also has five submissions on his record, including two in the UFC, so he has the ability to finish the fight on the ground if Vettori makes a mistake.

Marvin Vettori is a good wrestler. Holland will have to use his grappling and strikes in scramble situations to hurt the Italian.


4. Height and reach

Kevin Holland is long and rangy
Kevin Holland is long and rangy

One definite advantage Kevin Holland has coming into the fight against Marvin Vettori is his height and reach. Holland stands 6ft 3 inches tall with an 81-inch reach while Vettori is 6ft with a 74-inch reach.

The taller Holland will need to use his 7-inch reach advantage to keep Vettori off him and to avoid being taken down. If Kevin Holland can use his jab to maintain the distance and keep the fight standing, he has a great chance to beat the highly-ranked Vettori.

3. Striking power

Holland has power in his hands. He's gotten 12 wins via KO in his professional MMA career, including a beautiful one-punch knockout of Joaquin Buckley in the UFC.

To defeat Vettori he’s going to have to keep the fight standing and use his crisp boxing skills to piece him up from the outside. Vettori had trouble getting inside on the lanky Israel Adesanya, so there’s a blueprint for Holland to follow.

Even though Big Mouth was outwrestled in his last fight, he did hurt Brunson on the feet and had him in trouble in the second round.


2. Less talk, more action

Kevin Holland has promised to talk less when he faces Vettori this Saturday. The constant trash-talking during the Brunson fight did not win him many fans and drew the ire of UFC president Dana White.

If Holland is going to upset Vettori he needs to focus on what he does best - fight in an unpredictable way, stay off the cage and use his reach advantage.

Marvin Vettori is angry before, during, and after his fights. So maybe a little trash talk early on in the fight could make the Italian Dream throw wild shots and open him up for a knockout counter from the American.

1. Element of surprise

On nine days' notice and just 21 days after his main event against Derek Brunson, Kevin Holland steps in to face Martin Vettori.


Once Darren Till pulled out of UFC on ABC 2 with a broken collarbone, it was no surprise to anyone that Holland put his hand up. The man loves to fight and after winning five fights in 2020, it is an attitude that has served him well so far.

Martin Vettori has been training for Liverpool’s Till for weeks and now has to change his game plan and focus on the American middleweight. This disruption can only help Kevin Holland’s chances of beating the Italian.

It’s a big gamble for Holland coming off a decisive loss to Derek Brunson, but if he can pull off the upset, he’ll find himself right back in title contention.

Published 09 Apr 2021, 05:10 IST
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