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UFC Predictions: UFC Vegas 22: Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland Predictions & Picks

Derek Brunson throws down with Kevin Holland in this weekend
Derek Brunson throws down with Kevin Holland in this weekend's UFC main event
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 15 Mar 2021
Preview

The UFC returns to its APEX facility once again this weekend, presenting UFC Vegas 22: Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland.

Like most recent non-pay-per-view cards, UFC Vegas 22 is pretty low on name value, but it does have the potential to be high on action.

With that in mind, here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Vegas 22: Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland.


#1 UFC Middleweight division: Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland

Kevin Holland went 5-0 in the UFC in 2020
Kevin Holland went 5-0 in the UFC in 2020

All things considered, there’s an outside chance that the winner of this one could fight for the UFC Middleweight title next, particularly if that winner is Kevin Holland.

‘The Trailblazer’ was one of the UFC’s hottest fighters in 2020. He won five fights during the year, equalling the UFC record for the most wins in a calendar year.

And it’s not like he was fighting bums, either. Of course, nobody is going to mistake Charlie Ontiveros for a UFC title contender, no offense intended.

But Jacare Souza is renowned as one of the best fighters to never fight for a UFC title, and Holland destroyed him at UFC 256.

Holland’s overall UFC record is also sneakily good. Since arriving in the promotion in 2018, he’s gone 8-2, with his only losses coming at 205lbs to the much larger Thiago Santos and to Brendan Allen in a fight that now feels like an anomaly.

Holland basically has all of the tools needed to reach the top of the UFC. At 6’3”, he’s got a strong frame for a Middleweight, and his 81” reach is one of the longest in the division, too.

He’s an excellent kickboxer with a solid chin, and while his wrestling and takedown defense isn’t the greatest, he does possess a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and has six tapouts to his name.

And more to the point, anyone who can take out 'Jacaré' on the ground like Holland did isn’t a bad grappler by any means.

So does all of this mean he should beat Derek Brunson easily? Actually, it’s not that easy to call.

One of the most seasoned veterans in the UFC’s Middleweight division, Brunson has been with the promotion since 2012 and has put together a record of 12-5.

Due to all of that experience, Brunson’s strengths and weaknesses are now well known.

One of the most explosive athletes in the division, Brunson has fantastic takedowns and hits like a truck.

Essentially, the majority of his success comes from his ability to cover ground at a much faster rate than his opponents. This allows him to either take his opponent down, or land a heavy shot to knock them out.

Where Brunson’s fallen down in the past has been with a tendency to rush things against calmer, more technical strikers.

Ignoring his somewhat bogus loss to Anderson Silva, Brunson’s last three defeats all came when he attempted to rush an opponent and simply got drawn into a firefight with a more accurate striker, who then knocked him out.

Could this be the case with Holland? It’s definitely possible.

After all, Brunson has been with the UFC for nearly a decade now and he’s basically never changed his style.

Sure, he weathered more of a storm than he usually does when he beat Edmen Shahbazyan last year, but he still got hurt early on due to his tendency to rush in.

If Holland can avoid Brunson’s early rush, there’s no reason why he can’t use his sizeable 4” reach advantage to pick him off, as long as he remains calm.

There’s definitely the chance that Brunson will simply run right through Holland in explosive fashion. But the momentum right now seems to be with Holland, and so the smart pick for now is that he’ll be able to pick Brunson off as he comes forward.

The Pick: Holland via first round TKO

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Published 15 Mar 2021
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