Hey BuzzFans, at UFC 256 we were supposed to see the toughest test to date for Kevin Holland, being matched up against the MMA legend, Ronaldo “Jacare” Sousa. Instead we saw Kevin Holland not only win, but he made it look all too easy. 2020 has been a breakout year for “The Trailblazer,” going five for five in just one year. With every victory he got more attention with his “gift of gab,” and even has the president of the UFC calling him “Big Mouth.”
Holland comes to us from The Contender, where he won his fight with Will Santiago Jr in impressive fashion with his flashy strikes. In the fight, Dana White said he actually talked his way out of a contract. Even though he won, White felt that he talked too much during the fight and was turned off even with the win. Then UFC 227 happened and the light heavyweight killer Thiago Santos needed a replacement fighter, and who did Dana call? He said “Call Big Mouth.” He wanted to see if Holland would even take the fight, to see if he was all talk, and we found out by the end of the match that he can definitely back it up. Let’s not forget that only a few fights later Santos would be taking Jon Jones to his limit with an injury.
In 2020, his stock has definitely shot through the roof. First destroying Anthony Hernandez in the first round with a blistering KO. Then he would fight another breakout fighter for 2020, Joaquin Buckley, which was a very competitive fight, but with 32 seconds left in the 3rd and final round scored a breathtaking knockout. Then two quick wins over Darren Stewart and then his home state rival Charlie Ontiveros. Holland and Ontiveros were both on the regional scene in Holland’s home state of Texas, and thought they probably should’ve met sooner, but the outcome is what really showed us that “The Trailblazer” can do more than knockouts. He rear naked choked Ontiveros in the very first round and manhandled him throughout the first round before the choke.
Then UFC 256 was upon us, and he was matched with “Jacare,” and as I said earlier this was supposed to be his toughest fight to date, and as I stated he landed what I consider the KO of the year when he knocked Sousa out from underneath and folded him backwards like an accordion. Now we all know how the detractors think, they think “Jacare” is washed up, he’s lost a step, but had Sousa won they would have said Holland isn’t ready. Me personally, the way in which Holland handled Sousa showed me that he’s ready for bigger fish to fry, and that the next fish happens to be Derek Brunson.
Brunson, a native of my hometown of Wilmington NC, has fought a who’s who in the middleweight division from Anderson Silva, to former Champ Robert Whittaker, to the current Champion Israel Adesanya. His fight with Whittaker was a fight of the night bonus winner, as was the 2017 victory against former Light Heavyweight champion and current Bellator star Lyoto Machida. Brunson has insane knockout power, and is a collegiate wrestler from the University of Pembroke North Carolina and a lot of his power comes from his strong wrestling base. Also, when Brunson faced the up and coming Israel “Last Stylebender” Adesanya on November 3rd 2018 he was knocked out in the very first round.
Not to mention two losses to Ronaldo “Jacare” Sousa, first in Strikeforce, by KO at 41 seconds of the very first round. His rematch would come very much later at UFC on FOX 27 on January 27th 2018, and to the same demise was TKO’ed in the very first round. Since the Adesanya fight Brunson is on a three fight win streak, and also signed a new six fight contract with the UFC. His last victory was very impressive to me, because I saw a completely different fighter from the guy we saw lose to Adesanya. He was composed in a fight he was not expected to win against Edmen Shahbazyan. He picked his shots, mixed in some wrestling, which initially is what got him to the dance. Then in the third round he picked Shahbazyan off with a TKO victory. So this fight is going to be interesting, but I just think Holland is too much for him. “Jacare” didn’t see the knockout coming that flatlined him, and that’s Holland’s strongpoint, he comes at you from different angles, he’s everywhere, kinda like a prime Tony Ferguson.
He has a lot of movement, heavy hands and doesn’t seem to have a problem fighting off of his back. No matter what he makes you fight his fight. His trash talk gets in the heads of his opponent, and he then has them wanting to fight the fight Holland wants. He’s already trash talking Brunson on social media and in interviews, and I just have to think that by the time this fight actually happens he will have the already hot headed Brunson good and angry by the time the bell rings, and from there I can’t see anyway Brunson wins this fight. Bottom line, Holland just has too much horsepower and momentum on his side to lose this fight and it’s probably top ten rankings for “The Trailblazer!”