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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)