Derek Brunson put an end to the streak of another rising contender in the main event of UFC Vegas 22, using his wrestling to get by Kevin Holland.
The main event of UFC Vegas 22 would answer several questions. Was Derek Brunson’s recent resurgence a true turnaround? Would Kevin Holland’s admitted “big mouth” throw him off his game? And would Holland, the 2020 Fighter of the Year (per this website, and several others), be able to continue his recent, very impressive run?
Holland started the fight with his lead hand outstretched, then had to jump backwards after a kick from Brunson to the body. Holland land a high front kick, then slipped and was knocked down by Brunson on his way back up. Brunson got into top position. He broke through the body triangle of Holland to posture up and land some heavy ground-and-pound, but Holland was active from his back to slow the attack of Brunson. That window of opportunity off the Holland slip was all he needed, as he rode out nearly the entire round from guard.
There was an early clinch from Brunson after a right hand from Holland and Brunson landed a knee and a hook on the exit. Holland fired back with a big right hand that wobbled Brunson, then another one that knocked him down. Brunson popped up quickly and landed a big right hand of his own and followed it with a takedown. Brunson smoothly moved into mount, dealt with a scramble from Holland, then attacked an arm-triangle. Holland popped out and stood up, then was taken down again, which is where the round ended.
Holland came out aggressive in the third round, landing a right hand, but Brunson turned it into a takedown. Holland was throwing strikes from his back, but Brunson was happy to simply hold top position for another round. Entering the championship rounds, Holland had quite the hole to dig out of.
Brunson did not shoot for a takedown right away in the fourth round and Holland took advantage, landing several big shots on the feet. It wasn’t long until Brunson got a hold of him though, taking Holland down from the back clinch. Holland popped up, but was sent right back down. This time, Brunson had him in guard, leading to extended control time for Brunson. With a minute left in the round, Holland used the cage to spin out of the position, but was pushed against the cage upon returning to his feet, where the round ended.
With his back against the wall, Holland started the final round with a head kick that was off the mark. Brunson landed a left that Holland countered with a right, then another left landed for Brunson. A clinch was initiated by Brunson, but it was Holland who got a takedown this time. After some celebrating, Holland got to work, slamming Brunson to the canvas. They returned to the feet and Brunson shot deep for a double-leg and was successful, putting a stamp on a strong performance.
Derek Brunson def. Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision (49-46 x2, 49-45)