UFC books Kevin Holland – Alex Oliveira

Kevin Holland

The UFC has finalized the welterweight debut of a man who was one of the fighters of the year in 2020. MMA Fighting was the first to report this afternoon that Kevin Holland (21-7, 1 NC) will be making his welterweight debut against “Cowboy” Alex Oliveira (22-11-1, 2 NC).

The matchup will take place at UFC 272 on March 5th. This is a big fight for Oliveira who is looking to snap a three-fight losing streak. The last time we saw Cowboy was back in October when he was taking on Niko Price. That night, Oliveira walked away with a decision loss.

Overall, Oliveira is just 2-6 in his last eight fights in the UFC. One could say that is job might be on the line in this matchup against Kevin Holland. Over the course of his career with the promotion, Oliveira has been in there with some of the best.

We’ve seen him take on the likes of Carlos Condit, Gilbert Burns and Donald Cerrone. Oliveira has been with the UFC since 2015 and he’s proven to be a stiff test for most who take him on. While he doesn’t have the prettiest record, he’s always down to make things a fight.

UFC 170 debut for Loud Mouth

There was nobody in the UFC that entered 2021 with more momentum than Kevin Holland. Holland entered the year on a five-fight UFC win streak that earned him his first main event against Derek Brunson. Unfortunately for Holland, a big weakness in his game was revealed.

Brunson took Holland down at will and won a lopsided decision. Holland then stepped in on short-notice to take on Marvin Vettori in another main event. Unfortunately, Holland was dealt the same result after not being able to defend takedowns. After this second loss, Holland took some time away from the UFC.

He returned in October against Kyle Daukaus. In a weird fight, the fight was ruled a no contest after Holland was essentially knocked out by an accidental headbutt. However, the fight continued for a bit to see Holland lose by submission. Of course, the fight was ruled a no contest after seeing the headbutt played a big role.

After the No Contest, Holland said he would be dropping to the UFC’s welterweight division. This is probably the more natural weight class for Holland and I’m very intrigued to watch him compete at 170.

Max Holloway out of UFC 272 title fight

Well, the UFC was riding high this week with big fight announcements. Another huge announcement came just today when we learned that Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis would be fighting next month in Houston.

One other fight that was announced this week was the UFC 272 title fight between Max Holloway (23-6) and Alexander Volkanovski (23-1). The trilogy was going to take place in March and was set to settle the debate on who is truly the best featherweight in the world.

However, days after the fight was announced, the fight is off. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that Max Holloway has reaggravated an injury and has been forced to pull out of the UFC 272 title fight. The injury occurred in one of Holloway’s first days back in camp.

Last year, Holloway was supposed to fight Yair Rodriguez in July. However, he sustained an injury which pushed the fight back later in the year. Supposedly, this same injury is why he’s had to pull out of his UFC 272 title fight.

The UFC’s Plan

This is a big blow to UFC 272 which was planning on this title fight headlining the card. Holloway informed the promotion that he had to withdrawal yesterday. The promotion is currently trying to figure out the next steps. Apparently, there is no current timeframe on Holloway’s recovery.

More than likely, you’ll see this fight stick together but be pushed back. Outside of Holloway, there’s not really a contender that would make sense to take on Volkanovski. For that reason alone, I don’t see the UFC slotting someone else in that spot.

The hope is that Holloway can bounce back quickly from this injury and the fight can be rebooked. Word is that a timeframe if the injury is minor would be around May or June for the trilogy. I would expect the UFC to try and add another title fight to the March card with this fight falling out.

UFC books Aljamain Sterling – Petr Yan 2

The UFC has finalized the rematch we’ve been waiting for, for the bantamweight championship. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that Aljamain Sterling (20-3) will be defending his title against the interim champion Petr Yan (16-2).

The fight was confirmed by Dana White and it will take place at UFC 272 on March 5th. It was a big night for the promotion which also announced the Alexander Volkanovski – Max Holloway trilogy for UFC 272. For Sterling, this will be his chance to prove his legitimacy.

Let’s be completely honest, Aljamain Sterling didn’t truly win the UFC bantamweight title. It was given to him after he was hit with an illegal strike by Petr Yan. These two met back at UFC 259 last March. Yan was completely dominating Sterling throughout the fight.

However, Sterling was hit with a flush illegal knee and couldn’t continue. By disqualifying Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling was awarded the title. Now let me be clear, Aljamain Sterling deserves all the credit in the world for his wins that led him to that title shot at UFC 259.

His performance against Cory Sandhagen was truly something special. However, I will not look at his title reign as legitimate until he truly defeats Petr Yan. In reality, nobody looks at Sterling as the legit champion. He gets his opportunity to prove that he is at UFC 272.

Yan’s chance to regain undisputed UFC gold

As mentioned above, Petr Yan was completely dominating Aljamain Sterling when they fought. He dropped Sterling a number of times and if he hadn’t thrown that illegal knee, he was going to walk to either a decision win or a stoppage victory.

However, he did throw that illegal strike and his UFC title was taken away. Originally, Yan and Sterling were supposed to run things back at UFC 267. However, Sterling wasn’t medically cleared to compete due to a neck surgery and the fight was called off.

Yan ended up fighting Cory Sandhagen instead and was incredibly impressive on his way to winning the interim title. Now, Yan will get his chance to regain the title that many don’t believe he truly lost. Should be a good one on March 5th.

UFC books Alex Volkanovski – Max Holloway 3

The UFC has finalized the trilogy fight which should settle the question on who is the best featherweight in the world. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) will defend his featherweight title against Max Holloway (23-6).

The matchup will headline UFC 272 which will take place on March 5th. The news was confirmed by Dana White who broke the story to Okamoto. For Max Holloway, he will be looking to re-establish himself at the top of the featherweight mountain.

When Max Holloway rose to the top and became UFC champion, it was hard to envision him losing the crown. However, Alexander Volkanovski shocked Holloway by defeating him at UFC 245. The two immediately ran the fight back at UFC 251 on Fight Island.

The second fight was much closer with many believing Holloway got the win. However, Volkanovski won a split decision. Since the split decision loss, Holloway has had two incredibly impressive wins against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez which has earned him another crack at the champion.

UFC’s Australian King

I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always given Alexander Volkanovski the respect he deserved. I thought his win at UFC 245 was a fluke and I figured Holloway would take the belt back from him in their rematch. The way the second fight started, that narrative was playing out.

However, Volkanovski showed championship heart and resolve and stormed back in the championship rounds to win a decision. Then, Volkanovski took on Brian Ortega back in September. Again, I was overlooking the champion and thought he was in danger of dropping the title.

However, he put on a tremendous performance at UFC 266 and once again had to dig down deep. Twice in that fight, he could’ve tapped due to some deep submissions. However, he showed great heart and went on to dominate the challenger.

This is Volkanovski’s chance to once and for all put to rest the narrative that Holloway is better than him. Despite winning the first two fights, there are still doubters out there. If he wins at UFC 272, nobody can say anything else.

Momentum building for Nate Diaz – Dustin Poirier at UFC 272

One of the biggest fights the UFC could make looks like it’s coming together. Today, Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC) appeared on The Fight with Teddy Atlas. During his appearance on the podcast, Poirier shed some light on a potential upcoming fight.

At first, Poirier was hinting that his next fight would be short-notice. He said that he didn’t want to give anything away, but he said that UFC fans would be pumped for the matchup. The co-host of the show said that he had to be talking about Nate Diaz (20-13) and Poirier acknowledged that to be the truth.

Poirier said that he was called in the last couple of days regarding a short-notice fight with Diaz. He said that the fight would take place in less than six weeks which lines it up for UFC 272 in February. The title fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker currently is headlining that card.

However, Derek Brunson and Jared Cannonier is currently scheduled to be the co-main event of UFC 272. While that’s a good fight, it’s likely not what the UFC wants in their co-main event slot. That is where this potential Poirier – Diaz fight comes into play.

UFC 272 for Poirier – Diaz?

This whole thing started when Diaz said that he would fight Poirier in January on Twitter. Poirier responded saying that he would fight Diaz whenever Diaz would accept the fight. The UFC kicked the tires on making the fight happen, but ultimately opted against it.

Dana White recently said that the UFC would make the fight happen if the fighters wanted it along with the fans. Well, both guys want this fight and it appears close to being a signed deal. Poirier hinted that at this point the only thing standing in the way is signed contracts.

This would be the final fight on Diaz’s UFC contract and the fight would take place at welterweight. It would be a massive fight for both men and the winner could be looking at a summer showdown with Conor McGregor. Assuming this fight gets done, fans should be very excited.

UFC books title eliminator between Marina Rodriguez and Yan Xiaonan

The UFC has finalized a big time matchup in the strawweight division which very well might be a title eliminator. MMA Junkie was the first to report this afternoon that Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) will be taking on Yan Xiaonan (13-2).

The matchup will take place at UFC 272 which goes down on March 5th. For Xiaonan, she will be looking to bounce back after her first loss in the UFC. That loss came back in May against Carla Esparza.

We know that Esparza is getting the next shot at the title, but whoever wins this matchup will likely be next. Prior to the loss to Esparza, Xiaonan was perfect in the UFC.

She made her debut with the promotion back in 2017 and started a perfect 6-0. Some standout victories in that start were wins over Angela Hill and former title challengers Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadelha.

Xianoan looked to be on a destined path to a UFC title shot. However, Esparza stopped her in a big way. Now, she has a big test in front of her in Marina Rodriguez.

UFC title eliminator

When it comes to the female fighters of the year in 2021, it’s hard to pick against Marina Rodriguez. After suffering her first professional loss back in July of 2020, Rodriguez made a massive statement in 2021.

For Rodriguez it all started back in January at UFC 257. That night, she was taking on Amanda Ribas who was riding a big hype train. Rodriguez put a stop to that hype train by finishing Ribas in the second round.

The Brazilian followed that win up with back-to-back main event victories. First, she defeated the tough veteran Michelle Waterson. After that, she took on Mackenzie Dern who was also riding a big hype train.

Rodriguez was being looked at as a dark horse for the next UFC title shot. However, the UFC gave Esparza the shot which was the correct call since Rodriguez’s lone loss came to Esparza.

This is a huge strawweight contest that should setup a summer clash for the winner and whoever is the champion.

Israel Adesanya – Robert Whittaker 2 targeted for UFC 272

One of the most highly anticipated UFC title fights in the promotion finally has a date. MMA Fighting reported earlier today that the promotion is zeroing in on an event for the rematch between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-1) and former champion Robert Whittaker (23-5).

The event is being targeted for UFC 272 which will take place Super Bowl weekend on February 12th. Originally, the fight was being rumored for the January PPV, however, once the promotion finalized the heavyweight title fight between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, they planned to move this matchup back.

They wanted Adesanya and Whittaker to headline and they will do that at UFC 272. Adesanya will be looking to defend his title for the fourth time since defeating Whittaker back at UFC 243. Stylebender entered that matchup with Whittaker as the interim champion so he considers that fight to be his first title defense.

Overall, Adesanya is just 1-1 in his last two after suffering his first career loss at UFC 259. Stylebender moved up to try and become a two-division champion and lost to Jan Blachowicz. He bounced back at UFC 263 with a successful middleweight title defense over Marvin Vettori.

Can Whittaker become a two-time UFC champion?

Normally when you have a top-level UFC champion, they get a rematch pretty quickly after losing their title. However, this wasn’t the case with Robert Whittaker. Bobby Knuckles has had to climb his way back up to the title after the first loss to Adesanya.

Since that fight, Adesanya has targeted a few top contenders like Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. However, for those two to get to Adesanya, they needed to defeat Robert Whittaker. Neither man was able to do that.

The former UFC champion has won three times since their first fight. He’s defeated Kelvin Gastelum, Cannonier, and Till since losing the belt. He’s looked better and better each time out and he looks like he’s going to really test Adesanya in this rematch.