Kevin Holland turned in an A-plus performance earlier tonight (Sat., July 29, 2023) at UFC 291 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, when “Trailblazer” stunned former Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Chiesa with a first-round submission (D’Arce choke).
Chiesa was returning from a two-year layoff and it showed early. He was stiff on the feet and often shelled up along the cage as Holland moved in for offense. Chiesa kept trying to secure a takedown, but Holland’s improved defense allowed him to stay on his feet. Holland scored a few hard knees before Chiesa attempted another desperate shot. That’s when Holland locked up the choke and spoiled “Maverick’s” return.
Check out the final moments below:
Holland, who was coming off a knockout win over Santiago Ponzinibbio this past April, looked tremendous in this fight. His evolving takedown defense truly showed and he was even able to utilize his own grappling in the process. Holland might take this win and move back to 185 pounds, but he looks to be a better fighter nonetheless.
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