UFC 302 Preview and Prediction: Kevin Holland – Michal Oleksiejczuk

Apr 8, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Kevin Holland (red gloves) fights Santiago Ponzinibbio (blue gloves) during UFC 287 at Miami-Dade Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

On the main card of UFC 302, we are going to see a fun matchup in the middleweight division. “The Trailblazer” Kevin Holland (25-11) is moving back up to 185 on relatively short notice to take on a tough opponent in Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk (19-7, 1 NC).

Starting with Oleksiejczuk, he’ll be looking to bounce back after his last fight. In his last fight back at UFC 299 in March, he got to take on Michel Pereira who has been on a roll since moving to 185. Pereira ran through Oleksiejczuk in the first round. It’s been up and down for Oleksiejczuk inside the octagon as he holds a 7-5, 1 NC record in 13 fights. That said, he’s 3-2 since moving down to 185 from light heavyweight.

Standing across from Oleksiejczuk at UFC 302 will be Kevin Holland. Back in 2020, Holland became a star going 5-0 at 185. However, after running to some tough challenges at the top of the division, Holland dropped to welterweight. After moving down, he won his first two fights before running into Khamzat Chimaev and Wonderboy Thompson.

Holland had a strong 2023 overall finishing Santiago Ponzinibbio and Michael Chiesa. However, he’s lost back-to-back decisions since against Michael “Venom” Page and Jack Della Maddalena. He’s feeling fresh back at middleweight and he’s looking to make a statement tomorrow night.

UFC 302 Prediction

Kevin Holland has really struggled throughout his career when fighters have looked to take him down. Whenever someone stands and trades with him, he usually has a ton of success. The only guys to beat him in a standup fight were MVP, JDM, and Wonderboy. No shame in losing to any of them on the feet.

Oleksiejczuk is not going to try and take Holland down at UFC 302. I expect these two to strike, that said, I wouldn’t rule out Holland mixing in the grappling. Holland has great submission skills and I can see his striking leading to grappling exchanges.

I expect both men to have some success, but I like the length of Holland here and I also like how fresh he’ll be at 185. I expect him to snipe some big shots from the outside and he’ll hurt Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk will reluctantly look to grapple to recover and from there, I see Holland getting a submission in the third round to get back on track at UFC 302.

Prediction: Kevin Holland by Submission – Round 3

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