After an amazing 2020 that saw Kevin Holland go 5-0 in the UFC with four finishes and three performances of the night, 2021 has been quite the bumpy ride. Holland headlined back to back Fight Nights in March and April, losing to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori in similar fashion due to lack of wrestling fundamentals. He returned six months later looking like he’d buffed up his grappling skills, but before his co-main fight at UFC Vegas 38 against Kyle Daukaus could really get going, an accidental headbutt flash KO’d him.
A rear naked choke loss soon followed but was overturned upon video replay, with the fight being declared a No Contest. When asked at the UFC Vegas 38 post-fight press conference about the headbutt, Holland revealed it definitely put him out.
“Yeah I believe so because I know for f—king sure I didn’t take him down, all of a sudden I felt that motherf—ker on my back,” Holland said. “So yeah. I mean, I had to be flashed for a second.”
“I felt myself a little dizzy on the ground and it felt a little harder to breathe in that choking situation, so I figured I was pretty f—ked up in that situation,” he added later. “If I threw up a triangle defense, that’s just good jiu-jitsu. I don’t remember anything. And then it was bad jiu-jitsu when he took my back and choked me out. I felt myself hit the ground and I felt him hit my back. So anything that happened in between that, that’s just good will and God given.”
Holland was pretty pragmatic regarding the results of the fight.
I didn’t know what happened. I also don’t know how the rules are defined in that situation.— Kevin Holland (@Trailblaze2top) October 3, 2021
I do know he didn’t take me down. yeeeehaw
Run. It. Back. Bucko. pic.twitter.com/W5Ta8Qch42
“I never thought of a No Contest. I’m not that type of person,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned he knocked me out and choked me out in one fight. If it was a street fight he would have gotten the job done. So, I mean, kung fu first, defend yourself at all times. I didn’t defend myself against the headbutt. That’s my fault. “
“I want to run it back,” Holland confirmed. “I want to run it back right now. I want to run it back on anybody that’s ever gotten the advantage on me. So yeah, I want to run it back. I mean if Johnny Walker had gotten hurt tonight, I would have stepped up at 205 and ran it back with Thiago. I’m that guy. So if he wants to go somewhere else it’s because he felt the headbutt was the best thing that could have happened for him. Me personally, I got respect for Kyle, I got respect for Chris [Kyle’s UFC heavyweight brother], I got respect for the Daukaus family like I said all week. But the fight game’s the fight game and I don’t feel like it’s over.”
“I’m not the type of person to complain about anything. I think he should do it before my 29th birthday because 28’s just been a f—ked up year and if he waits until 29 I might just knock his block off. But hey, it is what it is, he did a good job. Had I got up, he was right, I would have knocked him out and been on ESPN. He’s 100% right. Like I told him in the back, if he wants my number he can have my number til we fight again. We’re going to fight again. He wants to wait until after his brother fights. I want to fight on the same card as his brother. Hmmm. Funny how that works out, right? “
The biggest bummer out of all this controversy is how Kevin Holland won’t get the props for his improved wrestling skills, which he worked extensively with former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks on.
“I wasn’t going to get taken down,” he declared. “I had planned on spending the first round stopping every f—king takedown, and I planned on spending the second round knocking him the f—k out. I was just completely off on my measurements, I guess. A statement needed to be made for the world, a statement needed to be made for Instagram so they could shut the hell up with all the wrestling defense bulls—t. So as far as I’m concerned, Hendrickstan lives.”
So tell us, Maniacs: What did you think of that short trip to Hendrickstan?