Thiago Santos and Kevin Holland kicked off the UFC 227 PPV in what turned out to be a violent and entertaining spectacle.
Kevin Holland was coming into UFC 227 off fighting on the Contender Series. That usually wouldn’t earn you a top 15 opponent, despite winning on the show. Nonetheless, that’s what he did by drawing Thiago Santos at UFC 227, taking the fight on short notice. And so Holland was starting his UFC career off with a very difficult fight. Going into the bout many thought Santos would run through him, but that’s not what happened exactly.
Instead, Holland proved very game for a fighter with far less experience coming in on short notice.
The fight started with Kevin Holland jumping down and letting Santos into his guard. From there he looked for an armbar and got dangerously close to getting it. However, Santos stayed on top and began landing tons of ground and pound with big punches and elbows. It appeared that Thiago might end the fight at that point, but we ended up going to the second round with Holland surviving.
The second saw Santos having control for most of the round, but near the end Holland hurt Santos. The newcomer then landed on top and looked for submissions and elbows from the there. Regardless as to what happened in the rest of the fight, Holland was putting in work, and showing his potential.
The third showcased why Thiago Santos is a top 15 fighter. He spent a good part of the round simply beating on Kevin Holland. Getting mount, looking for submissions and at times teeing off on Holland while on the feet. Near the end of round three Santos looked for a head and arm choke, and he looked like he had it but once again Holland survived. His scramble out was impressive, and Holland showed some potential, but he didn’t do enough to win. The judges would all see it in favor of Thiago Santos, who should creep up a spot or two in the division.
— #UFC227 (@ufc) August 5, 2018
That said, it will be interesting to see what Kevin Holland looks like in the UFC with a full camp behind him, and a more evenly matched opponent.
Thiago Santos def. Kevin Holland by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-26)