UFC President Dana White announced a ton of fights yesterday including a banger of a card that is going to take place in July. On the main card of UFC 291, we are going to see a big time welterweight matchup featuring 12th ranked Michael Chiesa (16-6) and “The Trailblazer” Kevin Holland (24-9).
UFC 291 takes place on July 29th from Salt Lake City, Utah. For Chiesa, this will mark his first fight in nearly two years. The last time we saw Chiesa was at a Fight Night against Sean Brady and that fight took place in November 2021.
Chiesa lost that fight by decision. It was his second straight loss. Prior to that loss, he was submitted by Vicente Luque in the first round at UFC 265 in Houston. Chiesa got off to a really hot start in the welterweight division having won his first four fights.
He was inching up to title contention when the fight with Luque took place. Now, he’s lost back-to-back fights and he’s been on the shelf for nearly two years. This is a big spot for him because a loss against Holland might lose his spot in the top fifteen altogether.
Much like Chiesa, Holland also got off to a hot start in the welterweight division. 170 is the natural division for both men, but Chiesa started out at lightweight while Holland was at 185. Holland was on the shortlist for Fighter of the Year in 2020 when he won five straight at middleweight.
However, after two lopsided headlining losses, Holland decided to move down to the UFC’s welterweight division. He won his first two fights by stoppage and was then booked to take on Daniel Rodriguez. However, due to the craziness of UFC 279, Holland ended up facing Khamzat Chimaev on a days’ notice.
Chimaev submitted Holland in the first round. After that fight, Holland got a fight he really wanted which was a headliner against Stephen Thompson in December. Wonderboy outstruck Holland and Holland was forced to stop due to a broken hand that prevented him from answering the bell in the fifth round.
Back at UFC 287, Holland returned and took on Santiago Ponzinibbio. It was a close fight throughout and Holland was getting hurt with leg kicks. However, out of no where, he face-planted Ponzinibbio with a left hook.
Now, he gets this shot at Chiesa and you can bet, he’ll have a number by his name with a win at UFC 291.