UFC Vegas 23 looks like a pretty solid card overall, with a high-level main event and a number of exciting prospects on the undercard. So would the fighters deliver when the UFC returns to its APEX facility?
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Vegas 23: Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland.
#1 UFC Middleweight division: Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland
This fight should have seen Vettori taking on Darren Till in what would’ve been a major opportunity for the Italian. Had Vettori beaten ‘The Gorilla’, he could’ve been in line for a shot at UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
But with Till out with a severe collarbone injury, Kevin Holland – who only lost to Derek Brunson a handful of weeks ago in his first outing of 2021 – has stepped in.
So who will take this one?
Vettori has largely flown under the radar over the years. However, ‘The Italian Dream’ is 4-0 since suffering a loss to Adesanya in 2018 and is now 6-2-1 in the UFC.
A powerful fighter, Vettori is solid in all areas. The last time we saw him, he was able to edge out Jack Hermansson in probably his most impressive performance to date.
Essentially, he used a swarming gameplan to avoid Hermansson becoming comfortable on the feet. He also avoided any dangerous scrambles on the ground, preferring to control ‘The Joker’.
Vettori doesn’t necessarily carry thunderous power in his punches, nor is he the greatest wrestler in the division. However, he doesn’t really have any weaknesses and is absolutely capable of fighting at the same pace in the fifth round as he is in the first.
Holland, meanwhile, was probably one fight away from a title shot when 2021 started. But his loss to Derek Brunson has knocked him back substantially.
A loss to Brunson isn’t necessarily terrible – Brunson is one of the UFC’s best Middleweights, after all. However, the way in which Holland lost – seemingly not focussed on the fight itself, talking to Khabib Nurmagomedov at cageside, and so on – made a big dent in his credibility.
He could get that all back here with a big win, though, but it won’t be easy for him.
Brunson is a better wrestler than Vettori, but the ease in which he took Holland down simply doesn’t bode well for him in this fight. Vettori is more than capable of planting Holland on his back, and judging by the Brunson fight, ‘The Trailblazer’ doesn’t have a lot from there.
Add in the late notice for Holland and the fact that he only fought Brunson on March 20th, this just seems like a task that might be beyond Holland right now. Considering the same, it might not be pretty or all that entertaining, but the pick is Vettori via unanimous decision.