What’s next for Kevin Holland after UFC 302?

MMA: UFC 302-Holland vs Oleksiejczuk
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

On the main card of UFC 302, we saw a fun matchup in the middleweight division. “The Trailblazer” Kevin Holland (26-11) was moving back up to 185 on relatively short notice to take on a tough opponent in Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk (19-8, 1 NC).

Holland had been fighting the last couple of years at welterweight but on short notice, he moved back up to 185 for this matchup. Holland was 5-0 at 185 in 2020 and was making his way up the rankings before running into Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori. After a tough stretch, he moved to 170 and saw a ton of success but had lost his last two.

In the opening minute of the fight on Saturday, Oleksiejczuk was able to land a big shot that put Holland down. Wasn’t sure if it was a clean drop or a combination of being caught while throwing a kick, but Holland was on his back. Oleksiejczuk pounced but seemed to forget how good Kevin Holland’s submissions were.

Holland immediately threw up and arm bar and locked it in. Oleksiejczuk tried to fight out but Holland extended the arm and either dislocated the arm or broke it. Oleksiejczuk never tapped but Herb Dean was forced to stop it due to the break and Holland got a huge submission win at UFC 302.

What’s next after UFC 302?

This was a huge win for Holland that really opens up a lot of options for him. He’s really got some options whether he stays at middleweight or if he decides to move back down to welterweight. For this, I’ll go into some options at both weight classes.

If the UFC decides to keep him at 185, I love the idea of him potentially being the next fight for Bo Nickal. Nickal needs a real challenge against someone with some real name recognition. Holland has struggled with dominant wrestlers, but between his striking and jiu jitsu, he could be a serious challenge for the young star.

If he moves back down to welterweight, there are a couple of options I like for Holland. If Nick Diaz can win against Vicente Luque, I love the idea of him fighting Nick Diaz. Hell, if Nick Diaz loses, I love the idea of the UFC putting Holland against Nick Diaz.

Another matchup I like is Holland and Khaos Williams. Williams is 4-1 in his last five and would be a fun matchup for Kevin Holland at 170.

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