New York Yankees News Roundup: All the news in one place

New York Yankees, Mike Ford

Yankee Stadium restrictions eased

At the start of spring training for the New York Yankees, they had expectations that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would allow fans in the stands at 10% capacity as he did for the Buffalo Bills. The Yankees can now look forward to a 20% capacity as Cuomo has eased Yankee Stadium restrictions and the Mets’ Citi Field.

The new Yankee Stadium plan allows 11,000 fans through the gates as ticket holders and buyers for the Yankee concessions. Fans will be placed in pods of different sizes with 6 feet between the pods. Cuomo also said that the capacity would likely increase as the season progresses if COVID continues under control. Yankee own Hal Steinbrenner had this to say:

“This will be a very special year in the Bronx, and we will continue to work together with the State of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City of New York, Major League Baseball, and other health and safety experts to utilize the best and most responsible practices in our facility.”

Cuts made, more on the way

Opening Day for the regular season at Yankee Stadium is less than two weeks away, and the Yankees have to cut players, lot’s of them. They have already started with many yet to come, probably daily. There are about 70 players on the training fields in Tampa, 40 of them on the roster; that number has to be pared down to 26 before opening day. The Yankees are allowed a 6 man travel squad that does not count for the 26 man roster.

The New York Yankees announced the club had optioned the first baseman Mike Ford and infielder Thairo Estrada, along with right-handers Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske, to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Those are probably the easiest cuts to be made, as none of those players have performed well in spring training.

Garcia in and out of a jam

Although Deivi García did not give up any runs, he did get himself into an immediate jam in his most recent start but showed an impressive escape act. In the first inning, he had no command of his pitches; he walked the bases loaded. He walked more batters on Friday than in his other three starts combined — but in a way, it was a significant showing. García has to keep the ball rolling to keep pace with Domingo Germán for the fifth starting spot. What was impressive is that he did work his way out of the jam; at the same time, that may have been more luck than skill. All baseball fans know that walks usually come back to bit you in the butt.

Boone happy with Judge’s spring

Aaron Judge is off to a pretty slow start this spring training, one that has not seen the slugger hit a single home run. He is also batting just .250. But Yankee manager Aaron Boone is not worried; he’s just happy that Judge is healthy. He stated that  Judge was able to go through the offseason healthy and get in these reps now, something Judge missed during the first spring training phase from last season. Boone sighted that the Yankee star has been able to build himself up and is “ready for nine full innings right out of the gate.

Judge started last season hot, hitting 9 home runs in his first 18 games. Unfortunately for the New York Yankees, Judge was only healthy enough to play in 28 of the 60 games. Now he is totally healthy and has to improve his timing, and John Sterling will again be saying, ” it was a Judgingly shot, and it’s Judgement day.”

Aaron Hicks solidly in that 3rd spot

Aaron Hicks seems to have found a permanent spot in the Yankee lineup behind DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. That’s the third spot in the lineup. Here’s why it’s important. Number one is that he is a switch hitter with power. In his last healthy year, he hit 27 home runs. In the short season last year, he hit 6. Another reason is that if DJ LeMahieu is a hitting machine, Hicks is a walking machine. He has a sharp eye and is the Yankees’ most patient hitter at the plate. Manager Aaron Boone had this to say:

“When I played, the three-hitter was the best hitter on the team,” Boone said. “It’s kind of evolved over the last several years. Since I’ve been here, over the last three or four years, you really think more closely and intimately about how you put the lineup together and where certain skill sets match up the best. It’s something that’s evolved steadily over the last 10 years.”

Stanton may play in the outfield

Earlier in the offseason, manager Aaron Boone indicated that Giancarlo Stanton would mostly be the New York Yankee DH. Then in spring training, he changed his turn. He said that Stanton would play in the outfield, both in left field and in right field. But that hasn’t happened. But Boone recently said in a Zoom conference that it would happen, but not during spring training.

With the abundance of outfield depth that the Yankee have, knowing what Stanton’s injury history is, that he may play in the outfield at some point, but at the same time, it will seldom be. Clint Frazier has established himself in left field after being nominated for a Gold Glove. At this point, there is also Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman that can fill in. It seems unlikely that Stanton will be used much.

Cole to start for the Yankees on Sunday

New York Yanke ace Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Yankees when they meet the Toronto Blue Jays, Sunday at 1:07 pm, in a game televised by MLBN. Cole will face Tanner Roark at TD Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. Bot Cole and Roark are 2-0 in the spring. Facing Roark, DJ LeMahieu has been the best Yankee hitter with a .500 average off him.

Gerrit Cole for the Yankees has struggled more than most of the pitchers. For instance, Domingo German has pitched nine scoreless innings this spring with 5 hits and only one walk, and more importantly, seems to be doing it with ease. On the other hand, Cole has pitched 7.2 innings so far and has allowed 9 hits, four runs, and 2 homers. For the most part, he doesn’t seem to be doing it easily with a lot of pitches thrown. But one must remember it’s only spring training.

 

 

Mets Make Their First Offers to Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor

The New York Mets are hoping to secure their future success, and the first job is keeping Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto. They made their first contract extension offers to their young stars, but all parties are long from agreeing on details.

The Mets offered Lindor below $300 million, but his camp went well over that mark. Lindor certainly deserves a contract near Fernando Tatis Jr.’s, and Steve Cohen will go there to make an extension happen. The Mets traded too much for Lindor to become a one-year rental. Even if it results in a World Series title, the front office cannot let their shortstop for the next decade slip away.

Conforto’s deal will take a lot more work, thanks to Scott Boras in his corner. Boras clients are notorious for refusing extensions so they can earn large sums in free agency. Plenty notable stars did sign long-term extensions in the past but it does not happen often. Very little details regarding any offers have been released and Conforto has been silent on any talks.

Lindor made it clear that he will not talk an extension after spring training but Conforto has not set a time limit. Conforto’s track record is not as illustrious as Lindor’s and Boras clients are known to negotiate at anytime. It is also notable to remember than Jacob deGrom’s extension came just a couple days before the season started.

This occurred with the Mets version of dumb and dumber (Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon) running things and David Wright stepping in to help broker a deal. With a completely new owner and front office, Mets fans should have confidence in both players remaining in Flushing.

 

NASCAR: Three drivers to watch in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

The NASCAR Cup Series heads Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Sunday’s race is one of the longest events of the season: 325 laps and 500 miles. Tire ware will be key, as Atlanta’s old surface wears tires down significantly after just a few laps. Here are three drivers to watch:

Kevin Harvick

Atlanta Motor Speedway has always been one of Kevin Harvick’s best tracks. His first career victory came there in 2001 and he’s won two of the last four events at the track. Harvick’s finished in the top-10 in half of his races at Atlanta (15 of 30), and he has an average finish of 15.8.

Through five races this season, Harvick’s primarily ran up front with four top-5s but has yet to secure a checkered flag. Expect Harvick to contend on Sunday.

Brad Keselowski

Similarly to Harvick, Brad Keselowski has won two of the last four Cup Series events at Atlanta. He’s finished in the top-10 in 8 of 12 races at the track with an average finish of 14.6. Keselowski hasn’t finished outside of the top-10 at Atlanta since the 2014 fall race.

Keselowski has already picked up three top-5s this season, including a fourth place effort last weekend in Phoenix. He has yet to win this season, so expect Keselowski to be there at the end.

Matt DiBenedetto

Through five races, Matt DiBenedetto has had a lot of trouble putting things together in 2021. After three races finishing 28th or worse to start the season, DiBenedetto has picked up a pair of top-20s to advance into the top-30 of the standings.

Atlanta has by no means been DiBenedetto’s best track over his career, as he’s failed to place better than 25th in five races. However, with pressure mounting on him, expect DiBenedetto to finally piece together a good run and get back into points contention.

Where should the New York Giants go at 11 after WR Kenny Golladay signing?

Rashawn Slater, New York Giants

They were many factors that played into wide receiver Kenny Golladay choosing the New York Giants as his next home, including quarterback Daniel Jones reaching out to him saying that “we are trying to do something right here.”

The Giants, more specifically, Daniel Jones, needed a WR1 to help spur his development and increase his production. Last season, the Giants ranked 29th in passing yards earning 189.1 per game and ranked 31st in points per game with 17.5. Adding Golladay to the mix will undoubtedly have a profound effect on their efficiency, especially in the red zone.

Golladay is a 6’4″ behemoth of a receiver, showing his WR1 skills with his ability to high-point catches and use incredible body control to box out corners and dominate in all facets of the field. After reviewing his film, not only did I see an elite red-zone threat, but also an athlete that can make plays on a whim. His elite use of his stellar frame is perfect for Jones, who desperately needed a big body target to utilize in the passing game and a dangerous threat inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

What does the signing of Kenny mean for the New York Giants?

The signing of Golladay does a lot more than just improve the offense, it also opens up more options with the 11th overall pick in the draft. The Giants have a big decision to make, as a top 10 player will likely fall to their slot, and they have to make a decision on drafting another receiver to completely overhauling a weak unit in 2020 or allocate the pick toward a position of need. Normally, teams tend to settle with the best player available in the first round, based on positional value. If that is the case, the Giants might want to target offensive tackle Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern.

Slater is a phenomenal talent with the versatility to play multiple positions. With below-average arm length, some project he can move inside to guard, and the Giants could easily utilize him in that way on the right side. However, starting him at right tackle might be the most beneficial move, as Nate Solder hasn’t played RT in over a decade, and Matt Peart missed developmental time last year with COVID-19. You can never have too many great offensive linemen, that is simply a fact and today’s NFL.

The Giants had a bottoming unit the last couple of years, so utilizing the 11th overall pick on another high upside player shouldn’t be overlooked. Alternatively, they could secure a player like Jaylen Waddle out of Alabama, who would completely revitalize the offense and give the Giants too many weapons to work with.

Defensively, depending on if the Giants utilize some salary space on a CB2, they could allocate the 11th overall pick toward a defender like Patrick Surtain out of Alabama or Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. As you can see, the options are endless, and the Golladay signing is to thank.

Yankees: Two lowkey players who have made a significant impact this spring

New York Yankees, Jay Bruce

The New York Yankees have had a successful spring, despite falling to the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Saturday evening. Their offense has gone quiet the past few games, but their pitching remains a strength. Against Baltimore, Michael King last 4.0 innings, recording six strikeouts and giving up one run. He currently has a 3.46 ERA this spring, but with a majority of the backups featuring against the Orioles, they only managed to record three hits and one run.

With player cuts already underway, the Yankees elected to part ways with first baseman Mike Ford, which could indicate a low-key player making the roster and potentially having an impact on the 2021 season.

Here are two New York Yankees who can make the active roster:

Lucas Luetge:

Lucas Luetge has been phenomenal this spring, pitching 6.1 innings and earning a 0.00 ERA with 13 strikeouts and just for hits allowed. At 34 years old, Lucas hasn’t played in the MLB since 2015 with the Seattle Mariners. Having bounced around the minor-league system, he’s experiencing a rejuvenation, and the Yankees could benefit tremendously, especially with star relief arm Zack Britton for the next few weeks.

Jay Bruce:

One of the reasons the Yankees likely reassigned Ford is due to the emergence of Jay Bruce. The former first-round pick back in 2005 is known for his slugging ability, having hit double-digit homers in 11 of 13 total seasons. Last year with the Philadelphia Phillies, Bruce had six HRs and 14 RBIs in 32 games. While 2020 was a down campaign, he most recently hit double digits in 2019 with 26.

Bruce has had some health complications in the past but has proven he can be a consistent threat, hitting .261 this spring, including two home runs and three RBIs. If he continues to show adequacy at the plate, he could be a first-choice reserve option in the outfield, and the Yankees always prefer sluggers over contacted hitters.

New York Yankees Spotlight: Giancarlo Stanton and Jonathan Loaisiga shine in the spring

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

In this weekly column, we spotlight the New York Yankee who has made the most positive impact on the team during spring training for the week. It will spotlight one pitcher and one hitter that excelled beyond the rest. So far in spring training, both starters’ and relievers’ pitching has generally been better than the Yankee hitting. But one Yankee is standing out from the rest, and that is Giancarlo Stanton, who has the highest batting average of any regular lineup hitter. The standout Yankee reliever, hands down, is Jonathan Loaisiga.

This week’s pitcher spotlight is on Jonathan Loaisiga, he has pitched more innings (10.1) than any Yankee reliever, and he has shined, allowing only 1 earned run over the span. His only earned run a home run. He has also allowed 3 hits but prevented those hitters from scoring. He has the lowest WHIP of any reliever that has pitched in five or more games. He has a tiny ERA of 0.87.

Loaisiga, because he has been used as a starter and reliever in the past, has remained mostly under the radar. When many pitchers and hitters underperformed in the shortened 2020 season, Jonathan got the job done. In 12 games, 23 innings, he was 3-0 while starting 3 of those games. He got 22 strikeouts with a WHIP of 1.22. Although probably not destined to be in the starting rotation, there is no question that if any of the regular guys get injured, the New York Yankees will look to Loaisiga to start a few games.

Honorable mention goes to Lucas Luetge, who is really turning heads in spring training. The Yankees acquired him over the offseason. Luetge, in six innings of work, has struck out 13 batters.

This week’s hitter spotlight is on Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton has been the one Yankee hitter that is performing better than others in the regular lineup. The Yankees have five hitters with higher batting averages, but they have played in fewer games and are non-roster players. It’s a bit of a surprise that Stanton is completely healthy so far. But even his detractors know that when he on the field, he can be an MVP-type player. So far in spring training, he is hitting .333.

Stanton last season played in only 18 of the 60 game season. But when he returned healthy after being on the IL, he played much better. He was the star player in the postseason, hitting six home runs over the seven postseason games. He had a postseason batting average of .302. So far, Stanton seems to have more plate discipline than he has in the past. He is being much more selective and taking his walks. His OPS stands at 1.016.

Honorable mention goes to Gleyber Torres, who is hitting .267 with two home runs in spring training. Torres hit 38 homers in 2019 but only 3 during 2020. Playing well at short and hitting two homers already suggests that Torres could have a great rebound season.

 

New York Jets: Could Gardner Minshew be an answer at QB?

The New York Jets have already added one former Jacksonville Jaguar. Could another help them solidify a youthful revolt on offense?

Salvation for the two-win New York Jets could be earned through the one team that managed to finish worse: the 1-15 Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jets have already added one North Floridian import in receiver Keelan Cole, a slot receiver that managed to earn a Duval-best 2,242 yards over the last four seasons despite relentless turnover at the quarterback position. Cole entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and has had seven different starters throw to him, including three alone last season.

Jacksonville has a prime opportunity to finally stop the carousel as the owners of the top pick of April’s NFL Draft. The consensus top choice is Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. The Jets are immediately behind them and are doing their due diligence on rookie throwers like Justin Fields and Zach Wilson, as Sam Darnold’s future remains a metropolitan talking point.

But could the Jets’ solution lie in further negotiations with the Jaguars?

The incumbent thrower in Jacksonville is Gardner Minshew, a sixth-round pick out of Washington State in the 2019 draft. Jacksonville has reportedly embarked on an endeavor to trade Minshew before Lawrence presumably dons teal and black on April 29. Minshew has produced some impressive numbers despite working in relative gridiron squalor in Jacksonville, posting 5,530 yards, 37 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions over the last two seasons.

ESM has four reasons why the Jets should investigate…

He’s an upgrade

As the Jets continue to ponder the Darnold situation, many have risen in defense of the third overall pick from 2018, claiming his subpar numbers (79.1 passer rating, 28 touchdowns, 24 interceptions) over the last two seasons are the result of a toxic football environment brought upon by the Adam Gase era. However, Minshew has arguably had even worse surroundings in the wasteland of Jacksonville’s post-AFC title game visit in 2017.

With 23 games (21 starts) under his belt, Minshew nonetheless has best Darnold in touchdown passes, yardage, and passer rating despite partaking in two fewer games than the Jets’ incumbent. There’s time for Darnold to get his NFL act together, but if Minshew, who has proven he can produce in a professional setting, can help the Jets in the short-term and finally get some offensive momentum moving in the right direction, it’d help this hopeful chapter of the Jets’ perpetual rebuild get started on the right note.

He has a connection with a crucial newcomer

After a relatively slow start, the Jets have made a strong effort to upgrade their receiving weaponry. Reliable slot man Jamison Crowder appears to be on his way back with hopeful second round choice Denzel Mims. The newcomers have arrived from the AFC South. Corey Davis, fresh off a career-best season in Tennessee, joins the fold with Cole, the Jaguars’ most prolific receiver over the last four seasons.

Minshew bestowed some strong praise unto Colege heading into the 2020 season, comments that indicate that he would have no qualms working with him again.

“I love throwing to Cole and I’m excited to see what he’s going to be doing,” Minshew said per Demetrius Harvey of Big Cat Country. “He’s got really good hands, can play all three positions, he makes the tough catch, he’s been very consistent, he’s become better at this route running, he’s been able to get in and out a little better, so you see an improvement from last year to this year.”

The Jets backed themselves into a bit of a corner 

The Jets have undoubtedly upgraded this offseason, at least on paper. But their primary concern remains unsolved, one even bigger than the quarterback conundrum.

New York can resolve their quarterback situation one way or another. They can stick with Darnold, trade for a name like Minshew or Russell Wilson (the Deshaun Watson pursuit is likely on hold for obvious reasons), or wait until the draft. But no matter who the quarterback is, he’s going to need protection through a retooled offensive line. With the exception of adding the Los Angeles Chargers’ Dan Feeney…high in personality, low in analytical gradings…the Jets haven’t done anything to upgrade their much-maligned unit. Drafting Mekhi Becton was a good start last season, but general manager Joe Douglas’ free agency renovations haven’t panned out. Recurring target Joe Thuney is off to protect Patrick Mahomes in New England while Green Bay stud Corey Linsley is off to Feeney’s old stomping grounds.

Thus, the Jets find themselves in a bit of a conundrum. If they draft a quarterback, the poor first-year man will likely be running for his life or potentially see his confidence shattered behind a makeshift blocking unit. Thus, using the second choice on top blocking prospect Penei Sewell out of Oregon. Minshew would be a strong, if not temporary, solution while the Jets try to bolster the men in front of him.

Furthermore, taking on Minshew’s contract is a light load the Jets could handle while seeking out further options on the line. Over the next couple of seasons, Minshew’s combined cap hit is in the $2 million range.

He brings stability to a franchise in desperate need of it

Time will tell how Minshew’s NFL career plays out. As of now, he appears set to inherit Ryan Fitzpatrck’s throne in terms of being a serviceable fill-in option while accompanying such endeavors with a larger-than-life personality. At this point, he’s probably not a future franchise quarterback. But he can provide a sense of stability to a Jets team in desperate need of it, a security blanket, if only for a sense or two that the Jets desperately need.

The Jets are working on a playoff drought that’s nearly old enough to see a PG-13-rated movie without parental supervision. Ending that drought is a lot to ask for this year with still so many established contenders, no matter how much hope Robert Saleh brings to this team. But the Jets need to re-establish a sense of stability to their franchise at any cost possible. Thus, using Minshew as a stopgap option of sorts can help make the Jets a destination of sorts.

A comparable case came during the 2017 campaign in the form of Josh McCown. While far older and probably never reaching the statistical heights that Minshew has already traversed, McCown’s strong season on a Jets team some predicted would go winless helped them bring some stability to a team whose quarterback situation was in flux. The team had one less thing to worry about and was able to bide their time in finding a successor while being competitive in the meantime. McCown went 5-8 as a starter…featuring a win over the aforementioned AFC finalists from Jacksonville…but six of those eight defeats came by a single possession. Minshew can help the Jets build something further, helping get a new regime off in the right direction.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Derek Brunson grinds out decision over Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22

Derek Brunson

In the main event of UFC Vegas 22, we saw a pivotal matchup in the middleweight division. One of the fighters of the year in 2020, Kevin Holland (21-5), was getting his toughest test yet in the form of Derek Brunson (21-7). The winner of this matchup would put themselves in excellent position in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

As mentioned, Holland had a sensational year in 2020. After getting submitted by Brendan Allen in late 2019, Holland made his return in May. From May through December, Holland went 5-0 inside the octagon. His most impressive victory coming at UFC 256 against Jacare Souza.

Early on in the fight, Souza was able to land a takedown. However, Holland showed great skills and composure on the ground. Out of no where, Holland whipped a right hand from his back that hit Jacare flush. Holland got up and cracked him again and got the finish.

With that knockout, the UFC hype train was off and running with Kevin Holland. Taking on hype trains is nothing new to Derek Brunson. Brunson has been tasked with taking on the hype trains of Israel Adesanya, Ian Heinisch, Yoel Romero, and Robert Whittaker.

The last UFC hype train Brunson faced was Edmen Shahbazyan. The two men went head-to-head back in August and there was a lot of money backing Shahbazyan. The Golden Boy was looked at as the next big thing, but Brunson completely shut him down and finished him. Derek Brunson was looking to do the same thing at UFC Vegas 22.

UFC Vegas 22 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 22 main event kicked off no touch of the gloves. Holland immediately pressed forward with a little pressure on Brunson. Holland slips and pops up but as he bounced up, Brunson clipped him with a shot that put him down.

However, Holland recovered quickly and Brunson settled into the guard. Brunson started trying to softened up Holland with big shots from the guard. Holland was able to keep Brunson in the guard, but Brunson was generating a lot of power with his short shots.

Brunson continued to be heavy in the guard as Holland started talking to him. One thing I was really impressed with is the posture of Derek Brunson here in the first round. The round comes to a close and it was a dominant one for Derek Brunson. 1-0 Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 2

Holland spent the break chatting it up with former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov who was watching the fight with Dana White. The second round started with some big shots from Holland, but nothing was landing.

The two come together in the clinch, but Brunson couldn’t get the takedown. Brunson throws a big shot off the break, but Holland just shrugged it off. Holland then lands a few massive shots that hurts Brunson badly.

However, Brunson is able to grab a leg and regain his composure. The two end up in a clinch and Brunson lands the takedown. Once back on the ground, Brunson immediately started working on an arm-triangle choke.

Brunson is able to lock it in and he moves to side control. The choke appears deep, Holland remained composed. Holland is able to force a scramble and got back to his feet. However, just before the end of the round, Brunson lands another takedown. 2-0 Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 3

The third round began with more talking from Holland. Holland moves forward trying to land a lead left, but it wasn’t there. Another takedown attempt from Derek Brunson and Brunson gets Holland down again.

Brunson looked really tired as he laid in the guard of Holland. No offense from Derek Brunson for the first minute that he held Holland down. Holland was looking for opportunities to scramble, but couldn’t get anything going.

Holland was actually landing more strikes off of his back with how tired Derek Brunson was. With a minute left in the round, Brunson started working the elbows, but there wasn’t a lot on them. The round comes to a close and it’s 3-0 Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 4

Entering the main event rounds at UFC Vegas 22, and Kevin Holland needs to get going. A low kick from Holland opens the striking here in the fourth. A very nice 1-2 lands for Kevin Holland and Holland hurts Brunson again.

Brunson is staggered, but he does a good job of surviving. Holland was swinging a little wild and Brunson was able to get a takedown. Holland was able to get back up to his feet quickly. However, Brunson takes him write back down.

On the ground, Brunson would land a nice shot here and there, but a lot of inactivity. The referee was warning Brunson to remain active and he started throwing more. Holland didn’t have any answer on the ground for Derek Brunson.

A big elbow lands for Derek Brunson. Holland uses the fence to explode up, but as soon as he gets up, Brunson immediately was on him. Brunson spent the rest of the round clinching Holland against the fence. In my opinion, it’s 4-0 Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 22 and Kevin Holland needs a knockout. Holland goes for a front kick that comes close to landing to start the striking. Derek Brunson seems a lot more fresh in the fifth and he throws a couple of big power shots that land.

Another wild shot from Holland results in Brunson clinching him. Brunson grabs the body lock, but then Kevin Holland is able to land his own takedown out of no where. He starts celebrating as if he won the fight, but he wasn’t really doing much in terms of creating damage.

Holland starts landing some good shots to the body, and then he lands two clean shots to the head. Brunson then explodes up and as the two come together, Brunson lands his own takedown. Holland settles into the guard and it doesn’t look like he has anything left.

Derek Brunson rode out the final minute of the fight inside Holland’s guard. This is going to be an easy win for Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Derek Brunson def. Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision (49-45, 49-46, 49-46)