Saturday, December 3, 2022

Holland vs. Thompson Headlines UFC Orlando, Twitter Reacts

Any talk of Kevin Holland’s retirement being legitimate has dissipated as he’s been booked to headline UFC Orlando against Stephen Thompson on December 3.

Earlier this month, Holland had a winning 2-0 start at welterweight halted by the seemingly unstoppable force that is undefeated contender Khamzat Chimaev. The loss came on just one day’s notice, with “Trailblazer” originally being scheduled to scrap with fellow striker Daniel Rodriguez.

Despite that, Holland appeared to announce his retirement a few weeks on from the quick submission loss. In a number of Instagram posts, the former ranked middleweight claimed to be “retired at 30,” a statement he doubled down on this week during a podcast appearance.

The retirement was doubted by many, and alas, those who remained skeptical were right to do so.

On Wednesday, the UFC officially announced that Holland will be appearing in the Octagon inside Orlando’s Amway Center on December 3. In the night’s main event, he’ll meet two-time welterweight title challenger “Wonderboy” Thompson.

Thompson, who fell short of the 170-pound mountaintop on two occasions against Tyron Woodley, is coming off a two-fight losing skid that saw his hopes for another shot at gold crushed by the wrestling games of Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad.

Having turned down an offer to face Shavkat Rakhmonov this year, expressing his desire to rebound against a striker, the 39-year-old fan favorite has had his wish granted, and against a man who shared a similar hope following his latest outing.

After a successful transition to welterweight saw him reel off two stoppage victories over Alex Oliveira and Tim Means, Holland hoped to stake his claim for a place in the rankings at UFC 279.

While he missed out on that target after falling victim to some major card alterations late in the day, “Big Mouth” has been granted the opportunity to leap up the ladder against the #7-ranked man in the division at UFC Orlando.

The current fights expected to take place at UFC Orlando on December 3 are as follows:

Kevin Holland vs. Stephen Thompson (welterweight main event)

Derek Brunson vs. Jack Hermansson (middleweight)

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Bryan Barberena (welterweight)

Matheus Nicolau vs. Matt Schnell (flyweight)

Angela Hill vs. Emily Ducote (women’s strawweight)

Tracy Cortez vs. Amanda Ribas (women’s flyweight)

Clay Guida vs. Scott Holtzman (lightweight)

Michael Johnson vs. Marc Diakiese (lightweight)

Darren Elkins vs. Jonathan Pearce (featherweight)

Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus (middleweight)

Natan Levy vs. Genaro Valdez (lightweight)

Francis Marshall vs. Marcelo Rojo (bantamweight)

Twitter Reacts To Kevin Holland’s Return From “Retirement”

As expected, the out-of-the-blue announcement drew some interesting reactions across social media, with the prevailing topic being Holland’s faux retirement.

Commenting on the promotion’s post, UFC featherweight Sodiq Yusuff gave a take that was common across MMA Twitter…

Like many, one user claimed to have not been at all fooled by Holland’s career-end claims. In addition, they suggested that the “stand and bang” matchup between Holland and Thompson was the perfect fight to make.

It was a similar story with MMA journalist Adam Martin and former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight king Ben Askren, who both praised Holland’s pre-fight announcement trickery.

Another common sentiment was the quality of the pairing. Whilst “Wonderboy” has long been renowned for his karate-style standup game, which has seen him defeat the likes of Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal in recent times, Holland used his striking skills to record a record-breaking five consecutive wins in 2020.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC Orlando, Kevin Holland or Stephen Thompson?