There might not have been a fighter that had a better 2020 in the UFC than Kevin Holland (21-7, 1 NC). Holland went a perfect 5-0 on his way to becoming a budding star from the promotion. This perfect stretch netted Holland a main event in his first fight of 2021.
Holland was set to take on the tough Derek Brunson. The fight was going to be the first time that Holland faced elite UFC competition and a lot of questions stood to be answered. Well, unfortunately for Holland they were answered in a negative fashion.
Brunson controlled most of the fight with his wrestling and gave Holland a loss. After that fight, Holland took a short-notice fight against recent title challenger Marvin Vettori. This fight saw the same thing as Vettori dominated with his wrestling and Holland lost.
Following this loss, Holland said he would focus on his wrestling before making his UFC return. He returned last month against Kyle Daukaus but the fight ended in an odd fashion. Holland was essentially put out by an accidental headbutt and was later choked out.
However, due to the headbutt, the fight was ruled a no contest. Initially, the UFC wanted to run this fight back, however, a Holland injury forced them to pivot. During this time off, Holland has made a decision to make a change.
UFC’s Welterweight Division
Holland told MMA Fighting over the holiday week that he was taking his talents to the welterweight division. After experiencing some of the grappling from some of the bigger wrestlers at 185, Holland figures it’s in his best interest to move down a weight class where he’s more on an even playing field.
In his last few UFC fights, Holland continuously has weighed in under the 185 pound weight limit. He’s flirted with the idea of going to 170, but has just remained in more of a natural weight class. Now, Holland is making this move because he figures it’s the best thing for his UFC future.
So, who should the promotion give him when he moves down? I think there’s a couple of options, but there’s one option I would stay away from. The one option I would really stay away from is Khamzat Chimaev (10-0). Last year, Holland said he wanted to fight Chimaev during Chimaev’s rise.
Given where Holland has struggled recently, I think it would be a bad decision to put him in there with Chimaev. Instead, I think he should fight someone who would fight him where he’s at his best and that’s on the feet. A guy like Daniel Rodriguez (16-2) comes to mind as a potential opponent.
Another one could be Niko Price (15-5, 2 NC). These are opponents where Holland could fight at range and try to get back on track. Holland still has star potential for the UFC, he just needs to get back on track.