A pair of top-10 middleweight contenders will collide in 2021, as the UFC has announced a fight between Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland for March 20th. Brunson immediately predicted that he would get a stoppage victory.
Brunson took to his official Twitter account to confirm the upcoming bout with Holland. He also kept the trash talk going, promising to put Holland to sleep.
"Official! Big mouth is sleepy he needs a nap! Main event March 20 on ESPN"
The bad blood between Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland began in early 2020, stemming from a heated exchange of messages. After knocking out Jacare Souza at UFC 256 in December, Holland re-ignited the rivalry by calling Brunson out. Holland then explained that he wanted the fight because he didn't like Brunson's striking.
Since then, Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland have gone back-and-forth on social media. Holland tried to push for an earlier date for the fight, but Brunson then accused him of wanting to back out. Brunson also dismissed Holland's impressive 2020 streak by saying that the wins came against old men and fighters with subpar records.
Will a win over Kevin Holland make Derek Brunson a top-5 middleweight in the UFC?
UFC middleweight contender Derek Brunson will try to move up the rankings when he meets Kevin Holland in March of 2021. Currently ranked number 7, Brunson hopes that a win over the number 10-ranked Holland will be enough to earn him a spot in the top-5. The 36-year old Brunson is coming off three consecutive victories against Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch, and most recently, Edmen Shahbazyan. Holland will arguably be the toughest test for Brunson since facing Israel Adesanya back in 2018.
Kevin Holland meanwhile, was on fire in 2020, as he managed to compete five times in just a span of eight months. Over that stretch, he defeated the likes of Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley, Darren Stewart, and Charlie Ontiveros. Holland's biggest win in 2020 came against Brazilian veteran Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza at UFC 256.
If Derek Brunson can be the one to halt Kevin Holland's meteoric rise and do it in impressive fashion, it's possible that he sneaks into the top-5. With #4 Darren Till out with an injury and #3 Jared Cannonier coming off a loss, a fourth impressive win could help Brunson replace either man in the top-5.