In the main event at UFC Vegas 22, red-hot middleweight prospect Kevin Holland looks to make a blistering start to his 2021 against longtime contender Derek Brunson.
Holland burst onto the scene in 2020 with five wins in as many fights. His most impressive victory came against Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza at UFC 256, where he flattened the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend off his back. He also finished all but one of his five fights last year and is potentially one win away from a shot at middleweight gold.
Standing in Holland’s way is a strong gatekeeper in Brunson, who is on a winning streak of his own. In his last three fights, Brunson has beaten prospects, namely Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch, and Edmen Shahbazyan. When he steps inside the Octagon this weekend, the veteran fighter will be looking to derail another hype train.
Derek Brunson vs Kevin Holland
Brunson vs Holland is a really intriguing matchup as both fighters have potential paths to victory. Holland is the better striker, whereas Brunson has the edge on the mat, however, it’s more than just a typical striker vs grappler matchup.
— UFC (@ufc) March 15, 2021
Holland is a fast, precise, agile and extremely powerful striker, and while Brunson isn’t the most athletic of strikers in the UFC, he’s also got crazy knockout power. In fact, both fighters have the power to shut each others’ lights out. Holland has a better output compared to Brunson as he lands over four significant strikes per minute compared to his opponent’s three significant strikes landed per minute. They are very even defensively, as both absorb over three significant strikes per minute.
On the mat, both have their ways of winning the fight. Brunson has a wrestling-heavy style, and likes to finish fighters with his vicious ground and pound. In contrast, Holland is a BJJ black belt, with high-level submission skills. He is also extremely dangerous off his back.
The fight isn’t expected to go the distance, but if it does, Holland would have more chances of winning it. All in all, the UFC Vegas 22 main event is expected to be a great fight, but Holland should win via stoppage.
Pick: Kevin Holland
Gregor Gillespie vs Brad Riddel
Gregor Gillespie lost his zero in his last fight against Kevin Lee, where he was knocked out cold with a vicious head kick. Normally, fighters go downhill after a misfortune of that magnitude, so it will be interesting to see if Gillespie can bounce back.
To his relief, Brad Riddel is a relatively favorable matchup for him. Riddel is a very good striker and has five knockout wins to his name, which ‘The Gift’ should be worried about. But Riddel isn’t something Gillespie hasn’t seen before.
Back from fishin' 🎣
— UFC (@ufc) March 15, 2021
Quite the contrary, a wrestling phenom like Gillespie is a bad stylistic matchup for Riddel. Gregor is a four-time NCAA Division 1 All-American and should use his superior grappling skills to sneak a submission win on the night.
Pick: Gregor Gillespie
Adrian Yanez vs Gustavo Lopez
After making light work of Victor Rodriguez in his UFC debut, Adrian Yanez is back to impress the fans once again, but Gustavo Lopez is looking to spoil his party. In an interview, Lopez said that he isn’t buying into the Yanez hype and wants to ‘murder him’ at UFC Vegas 22.
The build-up, backed by their promising skillsets is what makes this fight one to watch out for. After all, the bantamweights have been making quite a lot of buzz lately. Both fighters are heavy-hitters, with Yanez having the edge on the feet with his crisp boxing and head movement, and Gustavo having the edge on the ground. Lopez is also the better-rounded fighter compared to his opponent, and it’ll be interesting to see how Yanez responds if and when the fight goes to the mat.
Après un passage remarqué à DWCS, le talentueux @yanezmma en a mis plein la vie à sa seconde sortie dans l'Octogone.
— UFC Québec (@UFCQuebec) March 16, 2021
Should he keep the fight standing, Yanez wouldn’t have too many problems, however.
Pick: Adrian Yanez
Song Kenan vs Max Griffin
First of all, prepare yourself for an out-and-out stand-up contest. The two love to engage themselves in a striking contest but in very different ways. While Song stays patient and waits for his opportunities to land those big knockout shots, Griffin stays busy with constant movement and jabs.
Both fighters have shown weaknesses in their past fights, therefore, whosoever implements his gameplan better will have his hand raised on the night. The fight is a coin toss unless Griffin decides to grapple, which would shift the tide in his favor since he is the better fighter on the mat. Otherwise, Song Kenan has the edge at UFC Vegas 22.
Pick: Song Kenan
Marion Reneau vs Macy Chiasson
Macy Chiasson is a powerful striker, who will boast a five-inch height and four-inch reach advantage over Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 22, and she will certainly make it count.
However, Reneau has the edge on the mat and should use her superior Jiu-Jitsu to take the fight to the ground. Reneau is also tough as nails, so Chiasson will have a hard time finishing her. To that end, she needs to work on her conditioning.
With that being said, Reneau is now in the twilight of her career, and we might see the last of her inside the Octagon should she lose this weekend. All in all, Chiasson will be able to stuff the takedowns and use her superior striking to take the win home.
Pick: Macy Chiasson