Kevin Holland (18-5) has put together two wins so far during the pandemic. He’s looking to collect number three this weekend at UFC Vegas 11, where he takes on Darren Stewart.
At least, he’s pretty sure it’s Darren Stewart. “Honestly at first I didn’t even know I was fighting Darren Stewart. They sent me a contract for Darren, I thought I was fighting Darren Till,” Holland quipped. “I thought I had the big show. Then all of a sudden I got the flyer, I was like ‘aww crap!'”
Okay, so we probably don’t believe that story. What we do believe is that Holland has made the best of a bad year in 2020, racking up some big wins and staying busy. His last fight even bagged him a performance bonus.
And while the scenery is staying the same — he’s at the UFC Apex once again on Saturday — it’s a nostalgic feeling for Holland. “It’s almost like fighting locally again,” he said during the UFC Vegas 11 media day this week. “I used to fight for this company, Xtreme Knockout, something like that. All their fights were in the same spot.”
To Holland, that’s kind of like “sparring in your own gym. It’s freaking fantastic.”
Holland’s opponent this weekend, Darren “The Dentist” Stewart, hasn’t been playing the trash talk game. He’s mostly been talking about just having a great fight. That’s something Holland is big on, but he wonders what kind of night it will really be for Stewart.
“You know what, I had a feeling that this guy wanted to go in there and have a good time,” said Holland. “So to hear that he really wants to go in there and have a good time, it sounds fantastic until we go in there and start having a good time. Then all of a sudden it’s a good time for one person, and not a good time for the other person. For me, it’s always a good time, so we’ll figure this out really, really quick.”
One thing Holland knows for sure is that he has options moving forward. Both in terms of opponent and weight class, should he earn the win this Saturday.
Two names stand out: Marvin Vettori and Mike Perry. “We’ve got a relationship going on. These guys are my little boy toys, you know what I mean? I don’t know which one I want to fight next,” said Holland. “I don’t know if I want go to fight Marvin Vettori, or if I want to fight Mike Perry.”
The 170lb conversation is still there, said Holland, who noted that he enters fight week between 194 and 196lbs. Then again, it might never happen. But if it came right down to it, he might prefer the Vettori fight at middleweight anyway.
“Mike Perry, it’s kind of like, I don’t like his attitude sometimes, but other than that, he’s kind of a funny guy.” On the other hand, “Marvin Vettori, he’s a snake. He’s a dirty dog snake. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what he is. He’s a dog and he’s a snake. I don’t like that guy. F*ck him.”
UFC Vegas 11 takes place this Saturday, September 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event airs live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).