Despite being bloodied off an elbow, plenty of grit helped Brendan Allen secure a debut win at UFC Boston.
Boston, MA — As octagon debuts go, Brendan Allen’s fight with Kevin Holland at UFC Boston was a solid test. The pair entered in with a bit of history from their LFA days, having been circling a fight that never materialized.
Holland made the UFC first, and entered Friday night’s ESPN event on a three-fight win streak. Like him, Allen arrived via the Contender Series, and found himself in a war on the ground for the better part of two rounds, before finishing Holland with a rear-naked choke.
“It was a good fight,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press backstage at UFC Boston. “I was expecting a tough fight. I was expecting him to talk a little more.”
The fight was anything but one-sided. Allen found himself bloodied off a slicing Holland elbow in the opening frame. “The elbow caught me good, I put my hand up to catch it. I thought he wasn’t throwing it no more, but his arms are so long, and then it hit me, I was like ‘aww. that was a good one!'”
It would effect him, but Allen simply didn’t want to tip off his opponent. “It went in my eyes, didn’t want to show it. Just touched it one time, to get it out. It mostly went in my ear, I could hear it gurgling.”
For those who had any doubts heading in about Allen being able to neutralize Holland’s striking and get the submission, “told you I’d turn him into a wrestler,” he exclaimed Friday. Recalling Holland’s own takedown attempt, “I was going to stuff it, but as a matter of fact I was watching some of his previous fights today. Sitting in the hotel, I always do that because it helps me with confidence and everything like that. I always noticed he puts his head in on the guillotine,” Allen said.
“Gerald [Meerschaert] told me he’s got a skinny neck, so I was trying to use it for the sweep,” he continued. “He did a great job in not letting me sweep him off of that, so I had to go with the other option. I felt the guillotine and just had to stuff it in, and it is what it is.”
And when he did get the opening for the rear-naked choke later in the fight, there was no mistake.
As for any octagon jitters, Allen downplayed them. “I was calm, I was relaxed. I’ve had adrenaline dumps before. I feel like I’ve done big things before,” he said. “I’ve fought big names, I’ve accomplished a lot outside of the UFC. So no sir, I didn’t have jitters, I was calm, I was so ready to fight. Now I’m so ready to get home.”
Asked if the reality of his first UFC win had set in yet, Allen answered that “I feel that I got the win, but I’m just super excited to go home, see my wife, and take care of her for the last third of her pregnancy.”
Watch the full UFC Boston post-fight press scrum with Brendan Allen above!