Derek Brunson’s bout against Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22 contained an interesting pattern. Every time Brunson was on top of Holland and outgrapping him, Holland was spending more time talking to his opponent instead of making enough defensive adjustments to improve his positioning. Holland’s antics were the subject of criticism by some, including commentators Paul Felder and Michael Bisping. Brunson believes the criticism was well deserved, but he was happy to capitalize on Holland making his job easier for him.
“Listen, come on, man. You gotta do better than that,” Brunson said during the UFC Vegas 22 Post-Fight Press Conference. “That was pretty stupid. Work to get out of positions. You’re talking the whole time. I was gonna talk back to him during the fight, but I’m like, ‘This guy’s just stupid. He’s just laying here talking, not improving position. So I just let him. I didn’t want to break his rhythm, just let him keep doing his thing.
“I think he’ll learn from this. He gotta be a little more focused in the fight. He was in shape. I was in shape. So he want to entertain between rounds. This the fight game. It’s good to have fun. But you probably should be a little more focused in the fight because I was looking for my moments to really put some good punches on him and get him out of there.”
Derek Brunson will now look to extend his punches to the face of one Paulo Costa. Costa is now available after his scheduled fight against Robert Whittaker fell through due to the Brazilian contracting a bad case of COVID. With this win over Holland, Brunson could either move closer to or inch into the top 5. Costa is currently ranked #2 and is coming off a loss to Israel Adesanya in a middleweight championship bout in his last outing, so there isn’t a large separation between the two in the rankings.
As for Holland, he appears to have no regrets about his nonstop talking during his loss to Derek Brunson and is now contemplating making a change to his division instead of his fighting approach.
What are your thoughts on Derek Brunson’s comments about his UFC Vegas 22 opponent Kevin Holland?