After being taken down a combined 17 times in back-to-back five-round losses against Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson, it’s clear that defensive wrestling is Kevin Holland’s weakness.
That doesn’t mean, however, that he plans on completely changing his identity for his next Octagon appearance.
“Can’t say too much changes,” Holland said during an interview on the UFC on ABC 2 post-fight show on ESPN+. “We’ll see what it is. I honestly don’t know. Go spend some time with D.C. (Daniel Cormier) for sure, work on some of those wrestling things. Go work on wrestling of course. Learn how to stop some of these takedowns. Other than that, same old same.
“I’m not going to change the fighter I am and try and become a wrestler just because all these guys want to wrestle. It’s like, I like to strike, I like to bang. I just [need] to do a better job of keeping the fight up on its feet and deliver some more knockouts to the people and that way they’ll be back on the bandwagon sooner or later.”
Holland accepted the matchup with Vettori just three weeks after falling to Brunson in the UFC on ESPN 21 headliner on March 20. Although “Trailblazer” offered more resistance against Vettori, including a more active guard, he was still taken down a UFC middleweight record 11 times by the Italian fighter.
The quick turnaround didn’t allow for much time to work on his weaknesses, but Holland is happy to be one of the most active fighters in the promotion since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not really got time at the gym or anything. I just went out there and gave you guys a little bit more, just tried to give it to you guys, what you guys wanted,” he said. “At the end of the day, I believe in every fighter getting his check and I believe in everybody going out there and getting a chance to perform. So when I seen Marvin didn’t have an opponent, it’s like the smart thing to do would have been staying in that shower, not answering the phone call but I never said I was smart. But courageous and a company man is something that I am so if people want to ridicule that, they can ridicule that but at the end of the day when they needed somebody to step in.
“I fought seven times since the pandemic [started]. I’m going to go spend a couple of days with the kid and then we’ll get back to it. It’s nothing to a sniper. Sometimes we miss the shot, sometimes we land the shot. I’m not the only one who lost tonight but I’m the only one who did five rounds and didn’t get finished by either one against elite level guys each time.”
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