Not even winning five fights in a row (the best record on the entire UFC roster for 2020) will keep you safe from UFC President, Dana White, if fight No. 6 is a stinker.
White had some pretty extreme words for surging Middleweight, Kevin Holland, following his decision loss to Derek Brunson, one where Holland lived up to his Dana-given nickname of “Big Mouth” by talking, joking and laughing his way to a 49–45, 49–46, 49–46 defeat (watch highlights here).
“I think that was a mental breakdown,” White told Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole. “The only other thing I saw like it was [in boxing] when Lennox Lewis fought that guy [Oliver McCall] who kept his hands at his side and was crying. I don’t know what he was doing. I think he might not have been able to handle the pressure and just broke mentally. I haven’t seen anything like that.”
After losing the first two rounds trapped under Brunson, Holland started chatting up Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was cage side with White watching the fights.
“He wasn’t b——ing about anything,” White said. “He thought everybody in here was his friend and he was just out having some fun.”
“...he got taking down and beat up there.” - Crackhead Kevin.— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) March 21, 2021
The performance was so bizarre that it took away a lot of the hype Brunson should have gained for sticking to his gameplan and ignoring Holland’s never-ending conversations and attempts at camaraderie. Whenever Holland would get a bit too wild on his feet, Brunson was ready to catch a body lock and take down his opponent.
The only upside for Holland? Some people seem to think he would have won that fight if he’d been focused more on strategy than silly banter. He was landing big shots on Brunson while on the feet, but couldn’t keep from falling into the wrestler’s grip again and again. The only thing more frustrating than watching him joke his way to a 4-1 decision was seeing him make the same mistake over and over and getting taken down.
The loss isn’t the end of the Holland hype train, but it’s the kind of performance that takes a lot of shine and fan goodwill off someone who worked hard in 2020 to build it up. There’s no doubt in our minds that Holland is also back in White’s doghouse. Good luck getting quick turnarounds or another main event after that performance.
For complete UFC Vegas 22: “Brunson vs. Holland” results and live play-by-play, click here.