Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight knockout artists Kevin Holland and Jack Della Maddalena will collide this weekend (Sat., Sept. 16, 2023) at Noche UFC inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Welterweight rise of SOMEBODY is about to enter full swing. On one hand, there’s Holland, who has yet to attain the same heights he scored at Middleweight, despite looking far better suited for the division. His pair of losses at 170 lbs. feel like unique circumstances due to a short-notice match up switch and broken hand, and since then, he’s crushed two foes in brutal fashion. Meanwhile, Della Maddalena’s heavy hands have jumpstarted his UFC career with a five-fight win streak. The 27-year-old Aussie showed a bit of inexperience in his last bout against short-notice replacement Bassil Hafez, but he still got the job done and has more than earned a step up in competition.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 25-9 (1)
Key Wins: Michael Chiesa (UFC 291), Santiago Ponzinibbio (UFC 287), Tim Means (UFC Austin), Alex Oliveira (UFC 272), Ronaldo Souza (UFC 256), Joaquin Buckley (UFC Vegas 6)
Key Losses: Stephen Thompson (UFC Orlando), Derek Brunson (UFC Vegas 22), Marvin Vettori (UFC Vegas 23), Khamzat Chimaev (UFC 279), Brendan Allen (UFC on ESPN 6)
Keys to Victory: Holland is a special fighter. He’s remarkably powerful, able to create huge collisions that often pop up out of nowhere. He can finish fights at distance or in the clinch, and as he recently demonstrated against Chiesa, that jiu-jitsu black belt isn’t just for show.
Could Holland theoretically mix in a takedown attempt or two? Sure, he has the skills, but that doesn’t feel like his style, nor do I think he would succeed in holding Della Maddalena down for all that much time. Realistically, we’re looking at a kickboxing battle between heavy hitters.
Fortunately, Holland is ridiculously durable and hits like a tank. Unlike most Della Maddalena foes, he can match up to the Australian’s physical gifts. In a one-to-one exchange of power shots, I have genuinely no idea who falls first.
As such, range is likely going to be the most key factor. Holland’s objective should be to keep this fight at kicking range or in the clinch, as Della Maddalena does his best work in the pocket. If Holland can snipe at him with 1-2s then wrap him before Della Maddalena can build combinations, he can make it a very frustrating night for the boxer.
Jack Della Maddalena
Key Wins: Randy Brown (UFC 284), Ramazan Emeev (UFC 275), Danny Roberts (UFC Vegas 65), Pete Rodriguez (UFC 270), Bassil Hafez (UFC Vegas 77)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: “JDM” has hands, y’all. The young talent cuts off the cage and puts together combinations beautifully, closing distance and then bludgeoning his opponents with smart shot selection. Consequently, he’s stopped 11 foes via knockout.
As mentioned above, I would expect Holland to play the role of sniper here, which isn’t a look Della Maddalena is unaccustomed to. Usually, foes either try to keep their range or wrestle the Aussie.
Closing distance intelligently then becomes the key, and fortunately, Della Maddalena is practiced at doing so. Footwork is important, as cutting off the cage rather than following Holland around will help ensure Della Maddalena is delivering shots rather than walking into them.
Putting together smart combinations is also huge. The double jab is a great way to cover some distance, and Della Maddalena’s propensity for body hunting is also a great attribute against a lanky opponent who likes to lean away from strikes. If Della Maddalena continually advances while keeping his feet beneath him and fires smart combinations, he can find Holland’s chin.
This fight rules!
A committed and focused Holland is a dangerous Welterweight and possible title threat. If “Trailblazer” extends his win streak to three by shutting down one of the division’s hottest prospects, a Top 10 opponent next feels more than reasonable. Perhaps someone along the lines of Vicente Luque could be next?
Della Maddalena is in a similar position, but he has the benefit of being unbeaten inside the Octagon and having an entire country behind him. Fans are eager to rally behind Della Maddalena and his tremendous knockouts, so injecting himself into the Top 10 with a win here could result in a serious rise towards the title mix.
At Noche UFC, Kevin Holland and Jack Della Maddalena will go to war in the co-main event. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?
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