Over the weekend, Kevin Holland suffered a dominating defeat to Derek Brunson, in the UFC Vegas 22 main event. Following this setback, he reflects on his performance and responds to the comments made by Dana White.
Heading into the weekend, Holland was riding a ton of momentum, and a five-fight winning streak. He had an insanely impressive 2020, and was looking to keep the momentum going with a win over a crafty veteran in Brunson.
Unfortunately this did not end up happening, as Brunson controlled Kevin for the majority of their five round main event. Despite his constant talking and joking around, Kevin fell short on the judge’s scorecards, with the fight not being particularly close.
Kevin Holland Blew It
This was obviously not the result that Kevin Holland was hoping for, as he seemingly lost a lot of the momentum that he was building. That being said, he does seem to understand where he went wrong.
Speaking in a recent interview, Kevin agreed that he definitely dropped the ball with winning his first UFC main event. However he believes that he was more worried about not gassing out over 25 minutes, than he was about trying to win the fight.
“I could have did more. I was probably more worried about the time than I was worried about the fight. It is what it is, props to Brunson. I don’t feel bad,” Holland said.
“I kept talking about how long 25 minutes was, and the whole training camp I was doing 25 minutes and it was killing me. It was a lot of work. Then we got in there and did the fight, and 25 minutes was up before I knew it and I was like ‘Oh s—t that’s 25 minutes? I’m not that tired.’ Guess I coulda shoulda did more, instead of worrying about the time.”
Holland made it clear that he did not underestimate Brunson heading into this fight, nor did he surprise Kevin with much of anything he did. Despite this, he does agree with the critics who said he blew his chance.
“Blew it, blew it, I can say yeah, I definitely blew it. I should have taken Brunson out, Bumson, I’m not going to stop calling him that. I should’ve took him out. It is what it is, I didn’t take him out,” he said.
“I’ll go rattle off some wins and that’s somebody I’d still love to take out. He didn’t take me out, he always said he would. I didn’t take him out, I always said I would. If he’s happy with laying on top of me and that ultimately being his win, we’re two totally different kinds of people, but me personally, I like when the ref’s pulling me off. It’s just a better feeling.”
Responding To Dana White
Someone who was very unhappy with how Kevin Holland performed, was UFC President Dana White. The bossman left the arena before the fight ended, and expressed after the fact that he thought Kevin mentally broke in the Octagon.
Responding to these claims, Kevin explained that him talking throughout the fight, and even asking Khabib for advice cage side, is not a sign of him mentally breaking. Moreover, he is not taking White’s response personally at all.
“It’s no big deal. It’s not the first time my boss has some words about me to say, and it’s probably not going to be the last time. It’s okay. If he felt like I had a mental breakdown, it’s my job to get back to a main event status and go out there and secure the bag and let him know that it’s not a mental breakdown,” Holland said.
“I’ll probably go out there with a more killer mindset, but I’ll probably still talk my way in there and sing that sweet lullaby before I put the guy to sleep. That is what I do. Make no mistake about it, that’s what I’ve always done. I talk a little bit, and then I knock somebody unconscious, and then I probably talk a little bit after that. It’s just what I do.
“Talked more than what I needed to do? Yeah. Talked a lot in the Contender fight the first time? Yeah. People can say that’s how I do with nerves, that’s perfectly fine. I’m still out there scrapping.
“If you look at the numbers, everybody’s telling me I landed just as much if not more significant strikes from on bottom, than Brunson did that whole time on top,” Holland added.
“So yeah, if it was a mental breakdown, I’m still smacking and cracking away while talking. He did a good job of not letting me create that space to ultimately knock him unconscious. I got leverage, he give me a little more leverage on those shots and I’d put him to sleep.”
It will be interesting to see where Kevin Holland goes from here. While some may criticize him for talking too much against Brunson, it is hard to deny the fact that he is still entertaining to watch compete.