Kevin Holland, born in Riverside, California on November 5th, 1992, currently competes for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the middleweight division. Holland moved to Fort Worth, Texas and fights out of the Phalanx MMA Academy. He is also a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under former UFC fighter Travis Lutter. Holland turned pro in March of 2015, and put together a 13-3 record before his UFC debut in August of 2018. In Holland’s run prior to getting signed by the UFC, he competed for a variety of promotions including King of the Cage, Bellator, and LFA.
On June 12th, 2018, Kevin Holland defeated Will Santiago Jr on Dana White’s Contender Series via unanimous decision. Throughout the duration of the 15 minute bout, Holland talked to Dana White, the audience, and his opponent all while the fight was taking place. This was the origin of Dana White’s appropriately hilarious nickname “Big Mouth” for Holland. Although Holland didn’t get a contract the night of his Contenders Series win, he was signed to the UFC less than two months later and made his debut against UFC knockout machine, Thiago “Marreta” Santos on last minute notice. Despite coming up short in a spirited unanimous decision loss, Holland captivated the UFC fans with his charismatic personality and exciting fighting style.
Fast forward to 2020, and Kevin Holland is currently 8-2 in the UFC with five finishes and three performance bonuses. Most recently, Kevin Holland defeated Jacare Souza via first round KO at UFC 256 in December, 2020 and tied the UFC record for most wins in a calendar year at five. He was also awarded a performance of the night bonus for the emphatic finish over the Brazilian legend Souza. Holland is currently ranked #10 in the UFC middleweight division and heads into 2021 with a bevy of momentum on his side.
- Professional Record: 21-5 MMA, 8-2 UFC (11 KO/TKO’s, 6 Submissions, 4 Decisions)
- Height: 6 foot 3 inches
- Reach: 81 inches (206 cm)
- Weight: 185 lbs
- Nicknames: Trail Blazer, Big Mouth
- Current training camp: Phalanx MMA Academy, Travis Lutter BJJ
- Fighting Style: Kung Fu & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- Recent fights: Ronaldo Souza (W KO1), Charlie Ontiveros (W TKO1), Darren Stewart (W DEC), Joaquin Buckley (W KO3)
- UFC Accomplishments:
- Performance of the Night bonus 3x (versus Joaquin Buckley Charlie Ontiveros, and Ronaldo Souza)
- Most wins in a calendar year (5) – (Tied with Roger Huerta and Neil Magny)
- Most middleweight wins in a calendar year (5)
- Previous Career Accomplishments:
- Dana White Contender Series 2019: Season 2 Week 1 Winner
- XKO Welterweight Championship
- XKO Middleweight Championship
Upcoming Fight versus Derek Brunson:
Kevin Holland will square off with perennial middleweight contender Derek Brunson (21-7 MMA, 12-5 UFC) in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland on March 20th, 2021. The #7 ranked Brunson always provides a credible litmus test for any fighters with title aspirations at 185 pounds. Currently ranked at #10, Holland will attempt to further his climb towards the top of the division with a win over Brunson, and extend his winning streak to 6 wins in a row.
Derek Brunson is what I like to refer to as an “elite gatekeeper.” If you want to fight for a title in the UFC middleweight division, you have to beat Derek Brunson first. For example, when now former champion Robert Whittaker knocked out Derek Brunson in the first round at UFC Fight Night 101: Whittaker vs. Brunson on November 26th, 2016, Whittaker was one win away from a title shot. Also, when Israel Adesanya dismantled Brunson in the first round at UFC 230: Cormier vs Lewis on November 3rd, 2018, “The Last Style Bender” was one fight away from a UFC title shot.
On the flipside, if a fighter is not quite ready for the cream of the crop at middleweight, Derek Brunson will be the first one to expose it. Many pundits touted the formerly undefeated Edmen Shahbazian as not only a future world champion, but possibly the man to dethrone the great Israel Adesanya. Derek Brunson abruptly halted those plans, and TKO’d the “Golden Boy” in the 3rd round at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan on August 1st, 2020. Brunson also derailed the Ian Heinisch hype train at UFC 241: Cormier vs. Miocic 2 on August 17th, 2019 via unanimous decision as well.
Kevin Holland, fresh off the heels of a “KO of the Year” candidate over MMA legend Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Holland looks to parlay another finish here over Brunson, and put himself in line for an eventual title shot later this year. In addition to Holland’s award-winning KO over Souza, many fans also argued that Kevin Holland was the 2020 “Fighter of the Year” due to his sheer activity and epic finishes.
Stylistically speaking, Kevin Holland is the busier fighter as he lands 4.74 strikes per minute compared to Brunson’s 3.77 strikes landed per minute. Holland also has the edge in the rest of the striking numbers as he holds a 57% accuracy on his strikes compared to Brunson’s 47%. Holland absorbs 2.77 strikes per minute compared to Brunson’s 2.95 strikes absorbed. To top things off, Holland defends strikes at a 56% clip compared to Brunson’s 54%. Holland holds a 4 inch reach advantage over Brunson.
The numbers, however, change when speaking about grappling. Holland only defends 52% of the takedowns attempted on him while Brunson averages 3.02 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 31% accuracy, as well as an astounding 100% takedown defense.
It’s safe to say that Holland will look to keep this fight standing and capitalize on Brunson’s tendency to keep his chin in the air when attempting to close the distance. For Brunson, taking advantage of Holland’s shotty takedown defense will be his key to victory in this matchup. A win for both men will work wonders for their current standings in the division, as they’ll look to build off that success as the new year develops.
Most Recent Fight:
At UFC 256, on December 12th, 2020, Kevin Holland defeated Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via first round knockout. Heading into the fight, many pundits thought the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend would prove to be Holland’s toughest test to date. In fact, experts even referenced Holland’s bout versus Darren Stewart as evidence that Jacare would not only beat Holland, but would decisively display his dominance on the mat enough to force a “tap out.” They were right about one thing. The fight ended on the mat.
However, it wasn’t the Jacare submission win everyone thought it would be. Instead, it was Kevin Holland who threatened Souza with multiple triangle attempts off his back. Eventually, Holland landed a vicious elbow off his back which visibly disorientated Jacare. Holland capitalized on a split-second opening and began punching Souza off his back, each strike harder and harder, until Holland finally stood up over a nearly unconscious Souza and “executed the mission” with a once-in-a-lifetime finishing sequence that UFC fans had never seen before.
Holland was awarded the 50K “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts. During his post-fight speech, Holland proceeded to get on the mic and call out hot prospect Khamzat Chimaev for a meeting inside the octagon one week later. While the fight never materialized for that specific date due to Chimaev’s booking versus Leon Edwards, Holland unequivocally planted the seed for a future bout between two of the best up and comers in the sport.
Kevin Holland wins 5 times in 2020
In 2020, Kevin Holland entered the UFC history books, tying the record for most wins in a calendar year at 5, and most wins in the middleweight division in a year at 5. Funnily enough, Holland’s 5-fight assault on the middleweight division in 2020 only took place from May to December. Imagine how many fights Holland could’ve added to his win total had he fought in any of the first four months of the year.
On May 16th, Kevin Holland destroyed Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez in just 39 seconds at UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs Harris.
Three months later, Holland knocked out viral KO sensation Joaquin Buckley at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Oleinik. Holland was awarded Performance of the Night for the one punch KO.
A month later in September, Holland defeated Darren Stewart via split decision in a barnburner at UFC Fight Night: Covington vs Woodley.
The following month on Halloween, Holland disposed of UFC newcomer Charlie Ontiveros in roughly half a round at UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Silva. Holland was awarded Performance of the Night for the rare slam finish.
Lastly, at UFC 256, Kevin Holland tied Roger Huerta and Neil Magny for most wins in a calendar year at 5, when he knocked out Jacare Souza in the first round. Holland was awarded Performance of the Night for swiftly dismantling the Jiu Jitsu phenom on the mat.
It’s safe to say that if Holland can stay healthy, he will certainly be in the running for breaking the most fights in a calendar year record sooner rather than later. Three performance of the night bonuses in half a year doesn’t hurt either.
Kevin Holland and Israel Adesanya
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was in attendance for Kevin Holland’s first round destruction of late replacement Charlie Ontiveros at UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Silva. Seconds after the finish, during his post-fight celebration, Holland jumped on the octagon fence and began bickering back and forth with the champion. Later in interviews, both Holland and Adesanya played off the encounter, yet subtly insinuated the chance of a later meeting.
If Holland keeps winning and Adesanya is still the champion, there is absolutely a possibility this fight can be made in late 2021. With the right timing, Adesanya vs Holland could be a massive fight in the middleweight division. Considering the outspoken personalities and captivating fighting styles of both competitors, we’ll certainly have to keep our eyes peeled for any developments on this potential future tilt.
On a side note, if Holland gets the Adesanya bout, he would be the first fighter to hold a reach advantage over the champion.
Kevin Holland and Geoff Neal
Kevin Holland has a history with UFC Vegas 17 headliner Geoff Neal. On January 28th, 2017, Kevin Holland defeated Geoff Neal via 3rd round TKO for local promotion Xtreme Knockout in Dallas, Texas. Both Holland and Neal delivered a thrilling three-round war which to this day many hardcore fans consider to be one of the better regional fights they’ve seen. A little over a year later, both Kevin Holland and Geoff Neal made their UFC debuts and have since gone on to be ranked in both the middleweight and welterweight divisions, respectively. This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 17, Geoff Neal faced off with former title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in the main event and came up on the losing end of the scorecards.
Kevin Holland gets COVID
Kevin Holland was pulled from his main event bout versus Jack Hermansson at UFC on ESPN 19 on December 5th due to a positive COVID-19 test. Holland claimed to experience no major symptoms and tested negative in his subsequent tests. In fact, Holland wasn’t fully convinced he actually had COVID-19. He believed the test result was a false-positive. Holland told reporters at UFC 256 media day that he felt “healthy as an ox.” At UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno, Kevin Holland defeated Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via first-round knockout.
Kevin Holland and Darren Till
Before Kevin Holland’s fight versus Darren Stewart at UFC Fight Night: Covington vs Woodley in September, Holland joked around with the media that he thought he was fighting Darren Till. Both Till and Stewart are not only from the United Kingdom but obviously share the first name “Darren.” After a hard-fought three-round battle, Kevin Holland defeated Darren Stewart via split decision. A few months later, Holland stepped in for an injured Darren Till, and was scheduled to meet Jack Hermansson in the UFC on ESPN 19 main event. Unfortunately, a positive COVID test forced Holland out of the fight versus Hermansson. Marvin Vettori, who was booked against Jacare Souza at UFC 256, replaced Holland, and ended up defeating Jack Hermansson via unanimous decision. Kevin Holland fought a week later at UFC 256, beating Marvin Vettori’s original opponent Ronaldo Souza with a devastating first-round knockout.