No. 7 middleweight Derek Brunson (21-7, 12 KOs, 3 SUBs) will meet No. 10 Kevin Holland (21-5, 11 KOs, 6 SUBs) at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card airs live on ESPN+ starting 10pm ET. Also on the card is a lightweight prospect matchup between Gregor "The Gift" Gillespie (13-1, 6 KOs, 5 SUBs) and New Zealand's Brad Riddell (9-1, 5 KOs). Let's take a closer look at the Brunson vs. Holland UFC odds and break down your best bets at the online sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Betting
Can 28-year old Kevin Holland become a title contender? Beating an excellent gatekeeper in Derek Brunson would sure be a great argument that he could. Brunson has been a top-10 fighter for years, never quite making it over the top, but he's done great work separating the good from the great fighters. In 17 UFC fights, the only fighters to have beaten Brunson are Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, Jacare Souza and Israel Adesanya. With the exception of Jacare, all are former champions or title challengers. Holland could very well be next.
Derek Brunson (21-7, 12 KOs, 3 SUBs)
Though Brunson is 37, he comes in on a three-fight winning streak over some solid opponents in Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinsich and most recently Edmen Shahbazyan. The win over Shahbazyan was particularly impactful, as Brunson handed a highly hyped, undefeated blue chip prospect his first pro loss. This recent streak shows that Brunson can still be a force at 185 pounds, though past losses to top contenders clearly cap his ceiling just below the elite tier. Perhaps he can carve out a role as a prospect killer.
As a fighter, Brunson has really come full circle. In his early UFC days, he was mainly a wrestler who found the occasional submission among a bevy of decision wins. But after knocking out Ed Herman in 2015, the North Carolina native fancied himself a knockout artist, kicking off a string of four straight fights where he did little more than brawl his way to first round victories. It took a series of high profile losses to force him to reconsider his style and be more patient. These days, he's happy to trade potshots until finding the right moment to explode in search of a fight-ending salvo.
Kevin Holland (21-5, 11 KOs, 6 SUBs)
Signing to the UFC after a 2018 DWCS win, Holland has been a busy, productive fighter. Though he lost his debut to Thiago Santos - a defeat that has aged well - Holland has managed to put together an 8-2 octagon record. The 28-year old was given the requisite competition and time to steadily grow, moving on from guys like Alessio Di Chirico to Joaquin Buckley to Jacare Souza in his last matchup. Against a perennial contender in Jacare, Holland used his length and athleticism to score an early knockout, announcing his arrival as a top-10 middleweight.
Holland is a ton of fun to watch. For starters, he never shuts up inside the octagon - something that has been wildly entertaining in the no-crowd pandemic era. But trash talk would be irrelevant if he couldn't back it up with an exciting style. Holland does not disappoint here either, as he is a natural athlete who is both creative and willing to take risks. Opponents just have no idea if a flying omoplata attempt or a flying knee is coming their way.
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Brunson 3.77 / Holland 4.74
Striking accuracy: Brunson 47% / Holland 57%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Brunson 2.95 / Holland 2.77
Striking defense: Brunson 54% / Holland 56%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Brunson 3.02 / Holland 1.19
Takedown accuracy: Brunson 31% / Holland 42%
Takedown defense: Brunson 100% / Holland 52%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Brunson 0.4 / Holland 0.8
Brunson will always be a dangerous opponent for up-and-coming prospects. The problem here is that he's not a big enough underdog to temp a bet. The other big issue is that Holland isn't an inexperienced fighter like Edmen Shahbazyan - he has plenty of cage time to draw from. He will be the younger, faster fighter in this matchup, and his dynamic striking will likely be the difference maker.
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Card & Odds
Middleweight: Derek Brunson +141 vs. Kevin Holland -168
Welterweight: Kenan Song +162 vs. Max Griffin -196
Heavyweight: Don'Tale Mayes +170 vs. Tai Tuivasa -206
Bantamweight: Gustavo Lopez +177 vs. Adrian Yanez -215
Women's Strawweight: Montserrat Ruiz +280 vs. Cheyanne Buys -356
Women's Bantamweight: Julija Stoliarenko +287 vs. Julia Avila -366
Lightweight: Leonardo Santos +170 vs. Grant Dawson -206
Flyweight: Bruno Gustavo da Silva +130 vs. JP Buys -157
Lightweight: Brad Riddell +188 vs. Gregor Gillespie -230
Women's Bantamweight: Marion Reneau +165 vs. Macy Chiasson -201
Middleweight: Trevin Giles +113 vs. Roman Dolidze -137
Bantamweight: Jesse Strader +492 vs. Montel Jackson -702
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