Dana White and company were promoting the in-fight trash talking of Kevin Holland prior to tonight’s UFC Vegas 22 main event.
Holland (21-6 MMA) had entered tonight’s UFC headliner with veteran Derek Brunson on a five-fight win streak, his latest being a spectacular knockout victory over former Strikeforce champion Jacare Souza.
After going 5-0 in the Octagon during the 2020 calendar year, UFC President Dana White had dubbed Kevin Holland as one of his “fighters to watch” in 2021.
Oddsmakers were definitely on the ‘Trail Blazer’ hype train, as Holland was pegged as a solid favorite to defeat Brunson this evening.
Unfortunately for Kevin Holland, all of his pre-fight comments and in-fight trash talk did not culminate in a victory on Saturday night. Instead, Derek Brunson was able to utilize his wrestling skills to smother Holland for the better portion of twenty-five minutes on route to a unanimous decision win.
Following the conclusion of tonight’s main event, Dana White shared his reaction to Kevin Holland’s bizarre performance.
“I think that was a mental breakdown,” White told Yahoo Sports. “The only other thing I saw like it was [in boxing] when Lennox Lewis fought that guy [Oliver McCall] who kept his hands at his side and was crying. I don’t know what he was doing.”
Dana White continued:
“I think he might not have been able to handle the pressure and just broke mentally. I haven’t seen anything like that.”
For his part, Kevin Holland had the following to say regarding his performance against Derek Brunson this evening.
“Let’s go back to fifteen minutes,” Holland replied when asked my Megan Olivi of his assessment of his 25-minute bout with Brunson. “No, I think more than likely I just overthought it the whole week about the fight being 25 minutes. Wrestling the whole time and getting ready for the fight was rough. Sparring 25 minutes for this fight was rough. So I think I was just overthinking it. Then I get in there and I was like in the last two rounds ‘oh crap this isn’t that bad’. You know what I mean? So I probably should have pushed it from the beginning but props to Brunson. He did a really good job.”
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