Kevin Holland believes that his most recent victory over Jacare Souza surpasses the magnitude of his upcoming headliner bout with Derek Brunson. Taking shots at the 27-year-old UFC veteran, Kevin Holland labeled Brunson a gatekeeper in the middleweight division.
In the lead-up to UFC Vegas 22, Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland have been trading jibes on social media. In a recent interview with SCMP MMA, 'Trailblazer' stated that he is expecting to slide into title contention following a victory over Brunson.
"Jacare is a bigger win than the Brunson win... you beat Brunson, you usually go off to win a title. So, you know, beat Brunson and all the good fortune is on my side. That's just how it goes - You beat Brunson, you get a title," said Holland.
"If Brunson beats you, he still doesn't get his chance to get to the title. Brunson is just a gatekeeper. He is just somebody who sits in the middle and holds the fort," added Holland.
On his way to the top of the middleweight division, Israel Adesanya faced Derek Brunson at UFC 230. 'The Last Stylebender' made a major statement with a dominant striking masterclass against the UFC veteran and finished the fight within the first round.
According to Kevin Holland, if Brunson managed to get a shot at redemption, it would be a repeat of what happened the last time he faced the Kiwi.
"There is nothing he can do. If Derek Brunson was to beat everybody and then go fight Israel Adesanya again, Israel would knock him out. Therefore, he will never be a titleholder. If he was to go and fight Robert Whittaker again, Robert would finish him. Who is he going to fight for the belt? He is a gatekeeper," said Holland.
Derek Brunson has a chance to silence the critics this weekend
Derek Brunson put a halt to rising prospect Edmen Shahbazyan's title aspirations in August last year. Shahbazyan was heavily promoted by the UFC and many MMA analysts counted Brunson out ahead of the fight.
However, Derek Brunson defied the odds and stopped Shahbazyan in his tracks with a third-round TKO victory. The 22-year-old was handed his first loss and Brunson made a statement with a skillful win.
At UFC Vegas 22, the UFC veteran will try to extend his three-fight winning streak and move up the middleweight rankings.