This past Saturday night on the main card of UFC 287, we saw a fun battle in the welterweight division. Kevin “The Trailblazer” Holland (24-9, 1 NC) was taking on Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-7). Both of these guys needed a win to try and enter the welterweight rankings.
In the first round, Kevin Holland was doing a really good job of controlling the range. It looked like Ponzinibbio was going to have trouble getting on the inside. However, we started to see him really invest in leg kicks which seemed to be bothering Holland.
Late in the round, Ponzinibbio caught a kick from Holland, but Holland landed a big time backfist while his leg was being held and it actually dropped Ponzinibbio. In the second round, the two were very competitive, but Holland’s volume led the dance.
The third round started out really well for Ponzinibbio. The leg kicks were taking a toll and Holland was having a tough time moving on his leg. However, he then found a home for a big time left hand that sent Ponzinibbio face-first into the mat and he walked off with a KO win at UFC 287.
Who is next after UFC 287?
After this latest win, I definitely think that Kevin Holland needs to be fighting someone in the top 15 at 170 pounds. In looking at the rankings, there are some compelling options, but there’s one contender in particular that I like for his next fight.
That contender is Neil Magny. Magny is a tough veteran who can match Holland with a lot of his attributes including length. He’s just outside the top-ten and he wouldn’t be an easy fight for Holland. To me, this is the perfect step up and a win would get Holland right into the mix at welterweight.