After his big win at UFC Vegas 22, what’s next for Derek Brunson?

Derek Brunson

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 22, Derek Brunson (22-7) was once again tasked with taking on a promotional hype train. This time, the hype train was that of Kevin Holland (21-6). Holland was on the shortlist for male fighter of the year in 2020 after going 5-0.

Derek Brunson has been with the UFC for a very long time. He’s also been one of the more consistent fighters at middleweight over the last several years. Brunson has only lost to the very best that middleweight has to offer.

When a contender defeats Derek Brunson, they are well on their way to either being a UFC champion or challenging for a title. Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, and Yoel Romero are the best examples.

However, since Brunson seems to lose to the elite of the elite at middleweight, the UFC has unofficially given him this gate keeper status. Last August, Brunson took on Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan was supposed to be the next big thing, but Brunson finished him.

As a reward, the UFC gave Brunson the next hype train in Kevin Holland. Holland’s precision striking looked like it was going to be an issue for Brunson. At times on Saturday night, it was. However, at the end of the day, Brunson went out and grinded out a dominant decision and once again derailed a hype train.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 22?

Now that Brunson has derailed two consecutive hype trains, what will the UFC give him next? In his post-fight interview, Brunson made a callout and it’s actually one that makes a lot of sense in my opinion.

Brunson used his moment in the spotlight to challenge Paulo Costa (13-1). Costa recently had to pull out of his upcoming main event against Robert Whittaker due to an illness. At the moment, there’s not a timetable for his return.

However, if he’s able to return in the summer, the UFC should set this fight up. Costa is coming off of a title fight loss and Brunson is on a winning streak. Costa wants to get back on track and Brunson wants to prove he can challenge for the title. To me, it’s the perfect matchup to setup.

Kevin Holland interested in moving to welterweight after UFC Vegas 22 loss

Kevin Holland

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 22, we saw a matchup of top ten middleweights in the main event. Kevin Holland (21-6) was looking to build off of his incredible 2020 and get a win over the tough veteran, Derek Brunson (22-7).

Brunson has proved to be somewhat of a gatekeeper in the UFC‘s middleweight division. He usually takes on some of the best contenders that are on the rise. He’s only lost to the very best in the middleweight division.

Kevin Holland has all the makings of a superstar. He’s incredibly entertaining and he has such a fun personality. However, he’s got the skills inside the octagon to back it up. However, this was going to be a massive test to see where Holland was at.

Unfortunately for Kevin Holland, Saturday night showed that he still has a ways to go. Holland had some bright spots at UFC Vegas 22 including hurting Brunson on the feet a few times. However, when he did hurt Brunson, his wild style ultimately prevented him from getting the finish.

In the end, Holland had no answer for the wrestling attack of Derek Brunson. For the most part, Brunson was able to get Holland down throughout the fight and walked away with a decision victory at UFC Vegas 22.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 22?

After the event, Holland was still positive. However, he did mention that he’s interested in dropping down to the UFC’s welterweight division. Holland weighed in at 183 pounds for the main event on Saturday night.

In his post-fight remarks, Holland had mentioned getting a nutritionist and dropping down a weight class. I believe this might be the best thing for Holland’s career if he can make the weight with relative ease.

So let’s say he drops down to the UFC’s welterweight division, what’s next? Holland had mentioned that he would love a fight with Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC). The two men have had some back and forth, and Holland would love that matchup.

However, I don’t see the UFC giving him that fight right away at 170 pounds. I think a better option would be the winner of the Daniel Rodriguez – Mike Perry fight. These two fight on April 10th and whoever wins would be the perfect matchup for Holland’s debut at welterweight.

Derek Brunson grinds out decision over Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22

Derek Brunson

In the main event of UFC Vegas 22, we saw a pivotal matchup in the middleweight division. One of the fighters of the year in 2020, Kevin Holland (21-5), was getting his toughest test yet in the form of Derek Brunson (21-7). The winner of this matchup would put themselves in excellent position in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

As mentioned, Holland had a sensational year in 2020. After getting submitted by Brendan Allen in late 2019, Holland made his return in May. From May through December, Holland went 5-0 inside the octagon. His most impressive victory coming at UFC 256 against Jacare Souza.

Early on in the fight, Souza was able to land a takedown. However, Holland showed great skills and composure on the ground. Out of no where, Holland whipped a right hand from his back that hit Jacare flush. Holland got up and cracked him again and got the finish.

With that knockout, the UFC hype train was off and running with Kevin Holland. Taking on hype trains is nothing new to Derek Brunson. Brunson has been tasked with taking on the hype trains of Israel Adesanya, Ian Heinisch, Yoel Romero, and Robert Whittaker.

The last UFC hype train Brunson faced was Edmen Shahbazyan. The two men went head-to-head back in August and there was a lot of money backing Shahbazyan. The Golden Boy was looked at as the next big thing, but Brunson completely shut him down and finished him. Derek Brunson was looking to do the same thing at UFC Vegas 22.

UFC Vegas 22 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 22 main event kicked off no touch of the gloves. Holland immediately pressed forward with a little pressure on Brunson. Holland slips and pops up but as he bounced up, Brunson clipped him with a shot that put him down.

However, Holland recovered quickly and Brunson settled into the guard. Brunson started trying to softened up Holland with big shots from the guard. Holland was able to keep Brunson in the guard, but Brunson was generating a lot of power with his short shots.

Brunson continued to be heavy in the guard as Holland started talking to him. One thing I was really impressed with is the posture of Derek Brunson here in the first round. The round comes to a close and it was a dominant one for Derek Brunson. 1-0 Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 2

Holland spent the break chatting it up with former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov who was watching the fight with Dana White. The second round started with some big shots from Holland, but nothing was landing.

The two come together in the clinch, but Brunson couldn’t get the takedown. Brunson throws a big shot off the break, but Holland just shrugged it off. Holland then lands a few massive shots that hurts Brunson badly.

However, Brunson is able to grab a leg and regain his composure. The two end up in a clinch and Brunson lands the takedown. Once back on the ground, Brunson immediately started working on an arm-triangle choke.

Brunson is able to lock it in and he moves to side control. The choke appears deep, Holland remained composed. Holland is able to force a scramble and got back to his feet. However, just before the end of the round, Brunson lands another takedown. 2-0 Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 3

The third round began with more talking from Holland. Holland moves forward trying to land a lead left, but it wasn’t there. Another takedown attempt from Derek Brunson and Brunson gets Holland down again.

Brunson looked really tired as he laid in the guard of Holland. No offense from Derek Brunson for the first minute that he held Holland down. Holland was looking for opportunities to scramble, but couldn’t get anything going.

Holland was actually landing more strikes off of his back with how tired Derek Brunson was. With a minute left in the round, Brunson started working the elbows, but there wasn’t a lot on them. The round comes to a close and it’s 3-0 Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 4

Entering the main event rounds at UFC Vegas 22, and Kevin Holland needs to get going. A low kick from Holland opens the striking here in the fourth. A very nice 1-2 lands for Kevin Holland and Holland hurts Brunson again.

Brunson is staggered, but he does a good job of surviving. Holland was swinging a little wild and Brunson was able to get a takedown. Holland was able to get back up to his feet quickly. However, Brunson takes him write back down.

On the ground, Brunson would land a nice shot here and there, but a lot of inactivity. The referee was warning Brunson to remain active and he started throwing more. Holland didn’t have any answer on the ground for Derek Brunson.

A big elbow lands for Derek Brunson. Holland uses the fence to explode up, but as soon as he gets up, Brunson immediately was on him. Brunson spent the rest of the round clinching Holland against the fence. In my opinion, it’s 4-0 Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 22 and Kevin Holland needs a knockout. Holland goes for a front kick that comes close to landing to start the striking. Derek Brunson seems a lot more fresh in the fifth and he throws a couple of big power shots that land.

Another wild shot from Holland results in Brunson clinching him. Brunson grabs the body lock, but then Kevin Holland is able to land his own takedown out of no where. He starts celebrating as if he won the fight, but he wasn’t really doing much in terms of creating damage.

Holland starts landing some good shots to the body, and then he lands two clean shots to the head. Brunson then explodes up and as the two come together, Brunson lands his own takedown. Holland settles into the guard and it doesn’t look like he has anything left.

Derek Brunson rode out the final minute of the fight inside Holland’s guard. This is going to be an easy win for Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22.

Derek Brunson def. Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision (49-45, 49-46, 49-46)

UFC Vegas 22 Preview: Gregor Gillespie – Brad Riddell

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 22, we will see a very intriguing matchup in the lightweight division. The 15th ranked contender at lightweight, Gregor Gillespie (13-1), will be taking on rising contender, Brad Riddell (9-1).

Gregor Gillespie is making his UFC return after being off for the last year and a half. The last time we saw Gillespie, he had his first big challenge at lightweight in the form of Kevin Lee. Gillespie had looked dominant, but taking on a former UFC title challenger was a big step up in competition.

In the end, Gillespie was flatlined by a headkick and Lee handed him his first loss. Prior to that loss, Gillespie had been 6-0 in the UFC with five of those wins coming via stoppage. Gillespie hasn’t been hurt, but he’s taken some much needed time off to improve on some things for his next run.

Standing across from him is the City Kickboxing product, Brad Riddell. Riddell is one of the best pure strikers to come out of City Kickboxing. He’s incredibly entertaining to watch and so far he’s only stumbled once in his professional career.

So far, Riddell is 3-0 with three decisions in the UFC. He’s going to be looking for his seventh straight win overall tomorrow night. If Riddell is able to win tomorrow, expect a ranking to be by his name next week.

UFC Vegas 22 Prediction

Tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 22 we are going to see that classic striker versus grappler matchup. In reality, it’s not that difficult of a fight to break down. It’s ultimately going to come down to who can execute their game plan.

Gregor Gillespie is a Division 1 national champion wrestler. He is suffocating when he gets his hands on you and it’s incredibly difficult to get him. For Gillespie, he’s going to be trying for takedowns right away tomorrow night.

On the flip side, you have Riddell. Riddell is one of the best strikers from a gym that producers sensational strikers. For him to be successful tomorrow, he’s got to keep the fight standing. If this fight is contested on the feet, Riddell should be in good shape.

Usually when you look at these matchups, they favor the wrestler. I don’t believe that UFC Vegas 22 is going to be any different. Would I be shocked to see Riddell pull off a slick KO? No, but at the end of the day, I don’t see him keeping Gillespie off of him. This fight is going to Gregor Gillespie tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 22 Preview: Derek Brunson – Kevin Holland

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