What’s next for Kevin Holland after his loss at UFC 279?

Daniel Cunningham
Sep 10, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Khamzat Chimaev (red gloves) fights Kevin Holland (blue gloves) during UFC 279 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 279, we saw a catchweight bout that had a ton of heat behind it. Khamzat Chimaev (12-0) was looking to stay undefeated as he took on the outspoken and charismatic Kevin “The Trailblazer” Holland (23-8, 1 NC).

Originally, Holland was scheduled to face Daniel Rodriguez who is another striker. However, after Khamzat Chimaev massively missed weight, the UFC approached Holland with the idea to fight Chimaev on a day’s notice. Chimaev and Holland had an altercation that caused the UFC 279 pre-fight press conference to get cancelled.

With the heat already there, Holland agreed to the fight. Holland isn’t the strongest wrestler to begin with and he wasn’t training to fight one. He deserves all the credit in the world for taking that horrific matchup on 24-hours notice.

The last minute change really showed in the fight. Chimaev shot for a takedown in seconds and got Holland down. Holland did his best to scramble, but Chimaev was like a dog with a bone. In one of the scrambles, Chimaev locked in a d’arce choke. Holland tried to fight it off but ultimately was forced to tap.

What’s next after UFC 279?

One thing that should be clear is that Kevin Holland loses no ground at all with this loss. You can’t give Holland too hard of a time for falling short here. If he had a full camp to train for Chimaev and lost that way, it’s one thing. However, fighting him with one day’s notice after training for a striker, just throw this fight out.

So, what should the UFC do with The Trailblazer after Saturday? Well, an easy option would be to pair him up against Daniel Rodriguez who he was originally supposed to face in the first place. I think a fight with Rodriguez or Li Jingliang who ended up fighting Rodriguez would be great options for Holland.

For his sake, I wouldn’t give him a wrestler next. After he did the UFC a solid, I think they’ll give him someone that will stand and trade. Maybe even a fight with someone like Vicente Luque could be next. Someone cut from that striker’s cloth.