Kevin Holland is willing to make the necessary adjustments to return to the winning column he became so fond of in 2020 but has eluded him thus far in 2021.
At UFC on ABC 2, Kevin Holland suffered his second straight loss via unanimous decision. Marvin Vettori’s recipe for victory of suffocating wrestling was very similar to Derek Brunson’s. Though Vettori was more active on the feet and on the mat than Brunson was, the similarities in both men’s method of victory over Holland were apparent. As a result, a leading narrative following Holland’s loss to Vettori is similar to the one after the Brunson fight: an improvement in takedown defense is imperative.
Kevin Holland has already tackled the other narrative from the Brunson fight, reducing in-fight talking and increasing his focus. Now, “Big Mouth” is ready to address his takedown defense deficiencies as well.
“Can’t say too much changes,” Holland said about his training when speaking during the UFC Vegas 23 post-fight show. “We’ll see what it is. I honestly don’t know. Go spend some time with D.C. (Daniel Cormier) for sure, work on some of those wrestling things. Go work on wrestling of course. Learn how to stop some of these takedowns. Other than that, same old same.”
Kevin Holland seems to be committed to patching up holes as opposed to developing new weapons. His offensive approach will be unchanged, but in order for that skillset to be activated and deployed, he is aware that he must enhance his wrestling defense going forward.
“I’m not going to change the fighter I am and try and become a wrestler just because all these guys want to wrestle,” Holland said. “It’s like, I like to strike, I like to bang. I just [need] to do a better job of keeping the fight up on its feet and deliver some more knockouts to the people and that way they’ll be back on the bandwagon sooner or later.”
Kevin Holland did not have adequate time to work in these improvements between the Brunson fight and his loss to Vettori, but he has no regrets about accepting the short-notice bout. As always, Holland was happy to answer the call from the UFC and be a “company man” as he puts it.
Now, Holland will look to spend some time with friends and family, recover, regroup, and reload. Old habits die hard, though, so this will no doubt be more easily achieved if his phone does not buzz with a UFC representative waiting on the other line.
What do you make of Kevin Holland’s post-fight remarks following UFC on ABC 2?