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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Kevin Holland after losing at UFC Vegas 22?

UFC Fight Night: Brunson v Holland Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, with UFC Vegas 22 going down last Sat. night (March 20, 2021) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking theirs wounds, including Gustavo Lopez, who was knocked out by Adrian Yanez (video replay here).

And Song Kenan, who was flattened by Max Griffin’s powerful bombs in the co-main event (see it again here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Kevin Holland.

Coming into his headlining middleweight bout against Derek Brunson, Holland was looking to make a statement in an effort to cut the championship line. After all, “Trail Blazer” already had some built-in drama with current champion Israel Adesanya. A win over Brunson would all but guarantee him a slot in the Top 5, and perhaps even a title fight. At the very least, a title eliminator fight would have been in order.

Unfortunately, Holland went on to drop a unanimous decision to Brunson after five rounds of action. And no, it wasn’t a “mental breakdown” like UFC president Dana White so eloquently put it. What it ended up being was a dominant display of wrestling by Brunson that stifled Holland’s attack.

That didn’t stop Holland from talking during the fight as he usually does. And he kept on talking after the fight, promising to get back to the lab as soon as possible to right his wrongs.

“Yes I will talk, yes I will have fun, but winning is a shit load of fun as well. I definitely hate letting you guys down so fighting smarter, improving position and avoiding being taken down,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’ll get back to work within the week.”

The loss is a critical blow for Holland’s championship dreams, but they will only be put on hold for a short time because as he has shown in the past, he can rack up wins in a hurry. A prime example is his run in 2020 which saw him win five straight in the span of eight short months. If he can do that again, he will be back in the mix in no time.

As for who he should face in his comeback fight, perhaps a fight against the loser of the upcoming fight between Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall — which is set to go down at UFC 261 on April 24 in Jacksonville Fla., — makes the most sense.

Both would provide unique challenges for “Trail Blazer.” Weidman would undoubtedly put his wrestling skills to the test much like Brunson did and Hall would make for a great striking matchup. Of course, this is all assuming he stays at middleweight because Holland did say the possibility of dropping down to welterweight is still there.

“Honestly, I’d like to get a nutritionist and try 170,” Holland said on the ESPN post-fight show. “Those boys are heavy in there at 85. It’s nothing I just can’t deal with. It’s just something that when you fight for 25 minutes, you think about that type of stuff. So if I could try a 170 fight, that would be awesome.”

And he already has an opponent in mind.

“Belal Muhammad kept mentioning my name getting ready for this fight, and I kept commenting on his little stuff,” Holland continued. “Belal is coming off an eyepoke, I’m coming off a loss. We wanted to fight before. Why not do it now?”

For more on Holland’s loss to Brunson click here.

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