UFC Vegas 22 Preview: Derek Brunson – Kevin Holland

Daniel Cunningham
Derek Brunson

Tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 22, we have a huge matchup in the main event of the evening. Top ten middleweights Kevin Holland (21-5) and Derek Brunson (21-7) will go head-to-head as both look to continue their march towards a UFC title shot.

You couldn’t have had a better 2020 than Kevin Holland. After getting submitted by Brendan Allen in late 2019, Holland took some time and returned to the octagon in May. That night, Holland knocked out Anthony Hernandez in just 39 seconds.

However, that was just where the party began for Kevin Holland. Overall, Holland went 5-0 inside the octagon between May and December. He finished things off at UFC 256 with a highlight reel knockout over Jacare Souza.

Holland has everything you look for in a star. He’s got an exciting style and an entertaining personality to match. However, he’s going to have his hands full tomorrow night with the veteran, Derek Brunson.

While overlooked by many, nobody should sleep on Derek Brunson. Since 2014, Brunson has gone 10-5 in the UFC. However, his losses are to Israel Adesanya, Jacare Souza, Anderson Silva, Robert Whittaker, and Yoel Romero.

Only the best of the best have gotten the better of Brunson inside the octagon. Last August, Brunson was tasked with taking on another UFC hype train in Edmen Shahbazyan. Brunson dominated the fight and he’s looking to derail another hype train tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 22 Prediction

This is such a fun matchup and to me it will tell me a lot about Kevin Holland. When it comes to Derek Brunson, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. He’s been in there with the best the UFC has to offer.

Holland has incredible striking, speed, and he’s very underrated on the ground. However, we have seen him gas out in fights when he can’t get a finish. The Darren Stewart fight was the perfect example and Holland almost lost that fight.

For Derek Brunson, he needs to wrestle to get the win tomorrow night. He’s not going to get his hand raised at UFC Vegas 22 if he tries to strike with Holland. He’s at a disadvantage in power, technique, and speed.

However, Brunson has the wrestling advantage and the cardio advantage. For Brunson, it’s going to be about surviving the early onslaught. We’ve seen Brunson dropped and finished by elite strikers early. However, we’ve also seen him break guys as the fight goes on.

The first two minutes is going to tell me all I need to know. Either Kevin Holland is going to immediately start lighting Brunson up, or Brunson’s going to take him down. I’m extremely torn on this one.

The safe pick to me is Derek Brunson. You know what you’re going to get and he’s been in there with the UFC’s best. Holland is unproven against the elites of the division. However, call me a sucker for the hype, but I’m buying into it. I think Kevin Holland is going to find the shot he’s looking for in the second round.

Prediction: Kevin Holland by TKO – Round 2