UFC books headliner between Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson

Kevin Holland

The UFC has booked the 2020 Breakout Fighter of the Year for his first fight in 2021. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news that the promotion is booking a headliner between Kevin Holland (21-5) and Derek Brunson (21-7).

The headliner will take place on March 20th. Holland became a breakout star for the UFC in 2020. His incredible year is why we named him the Breakout Fighter of the Year here at Empire Sports.



Holland entered 2020 coming off of a loss to Brendan Allen. However, he was getting ready to show the world how good he really is in 2020. Holland went an astonishing 5-0 with four finishes in 2020.

His last win came against Jacare Souza at UFC 256. Holland was taken down moments into the fight. I figured if the fight touched the ground, Holland would be in a lot of trouble. However, I was dead wrong.

Holland showed incredible skills on the ground. Then he whipped a right hand at the forehead of Jacare Souza which dazed him. Holland followed up with shots and ended up scoring the TKO victory.

In 2020, Holland went from an entertaining character to a serious contender. His year has put him tenth in the UFC‘s middleweight rankings. This headliner will be the first time he takes on someone in the top 10.

UFC’s Middleweight Gate Keeper?

Derek Brunson is going to enter the octagon on March 20th being looked at as the UFC‘s middleweight gate keeper. A title that Brunson is not really a fan of, however, it’s a title that’s fitting.

Brunson is on a three-fight winning streak. Two of those wins came against rising contenders that were looked at as the next big thing. Those contenders were Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan.

I’ll admit it, I bought into the UFC hype of Shahbazyan. However, Brunson proved when they fought that there are levels to the game as Corey Anderson would say. Brunson dominated and finished Shahbazyan in the third round.

He’s currently ranked as the seventh best middleweight in the UFC. Brunson and Kevin Holland have been beefing over Twitter and both wanted this fight. Well, the UFC was happy to make it happen.

Given Holland’s desire to stay active, I’m a little surprised it’s booked so far out. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic matchup in the middleweight division. Whoever wins should be guaranteed a top five opponent in their next trip inside the octagon.

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