While the main event of UFC Vegas 22 was certainly a little underwhelming, the fight wasn't bereft of controversy surrounding Kevin Holland's constant bickering during his bout against Derek Brunson.
Well, it turns out that trash talking doesn't always win you fights. And rising middleweight contender Kevin Holland just found that out the hard way at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas tonight.
What was supposed to be a firefight between two of the most talented middleweights on the planet turned out to be a lukewarm affair.
UFC veteran Brunson put up a wrestling masterclass on the night, keeping Holland pinned to the mat throughout the five scheduled rounds. It was complete domination by the veteran fighter who controlled most parts of the fight and didn't allow Holland to mount any offense altogether. Brunson won the fight via unanimous decision.
The fight was so one-sided that the judges scored it 49-45, 49-46, and 49-46 in favor of Brunson, who picked up his fourth win on the trot. The win will now take Brunson ever so close to a shot at Israel Adesanya's middleweight title.
On the other hand, Holland must now go back to the drawing board and start all over again.
That's because Kevin Holland lost credibility tonight. His constant talking during a fight where he was clearly getting mauled wasn't well-received by anyone.
Holland's callous and reckless demeanor enraged UFC president Dana White, who even stated that he thought Holland was going through a mental breakdown during the fight.
“I think that was a mental breakdown,” UFC president Dana White told Yahoo! Sports. “The only other thing I saw like it was [in boxing] when Lennox Lewis fought that guy [Oliver McCall] who kept his hands at his side and was crying. I don’t know what he was doing. I think he might not have been able to handle the pressure and just broke mentally. I haven’t seen anything like that.”
Holland's antics during the fight were indeed over the top. After being taken down and completely dominated on the ground in the first round, Kevin Holland was seen asking Khabib Nurmagomedov for some wrestling advice.
Even though Nurmagomedov warned him not to lose focus, it was clearly pretty late by then as Holland just went on rambling.
Had he won tonight, Holland's 'big-mouth' persona would surely have been the talk of the town. But since he got beat, the same thing will now come back to haunt him.
According to his opponent Derek Brunson, Holland lost the fight simply because he couldn't stop the takedown attempts and not because of losing his focus.
"No, he just couldn't stop the takedowns... Dana White is one of those guys you know. He'd be upset with you but you come out the next fight and knock a guy out and he'd be happy again. It's all good."
This was Holland's first loss in his last six fights. He went undefeated in 2020 with five straight wins inside the Octagon. However, 2021 clearly hasn't started similarly, as he fell to a lopsided decision loss against Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.
Given below are the results from all the fights on the main and preliminary card of UFC Vegas 22:
UFC Vegas 22 Main card
Derek Brunson def. Kevin Holland via unanimous decision (49-45, 49-46 x2)
Max Griffin def. Song Kenan via KO (R1 - 2:20)
Montserrat Ruiz def. Cheyanne Buys via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)
Adrian Yanez def. Gustavo Lopez via KO (R3 - 0:27)
Tai Tuivasa def. Harry Hunsucker via TKO (R1 - 0:49)
UFC Vegas 22 Prelims
Macy Chiasson def. Marion Reneau via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Grant Dawson def. Leonardo Santos via TKO (R3 - 4:59)
Trevin Giles def. Roman Dolidze via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Montel Jackson def. Jesse Strader via TKO (R1 - 1:58)
Bruno Silva def. JP Buys via TKO (R2 - 2:56)