Two middleweights each in a must-win situation, headlining this weekend’s UFC Vegas 23 card, will be top-10 middleweights Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland facing off on April 10.
Vettori is ranked No. 6 at middleweight and was originally set to face Darren Till. Till dropped out due to a collar bone injury and Holland took his place. Holland, ranked No. 10, is facing a quick turnaround as he had a five-round decision loss against Derek Brunson just a few weeks ago.
Both Vettori and Holland are striking-focused fighters with very different styles and stances. After winning five fights in 2020, Holland will be hungry to get back in the win column, while Vettori is seeking a rematch against UFC Champion Israel Adesanya and to extend his four-fight win streak.
UFC Vegas 23 (UFC on ABC 2) will be live from the UFC Apex Arena in Las Vegas, this Saturday, April 10.
Marvin Vettori (16-4-1)
Italian-born fighter Marvin Vettori uses a boxing heavy southpaw striking style. Since losing a split decision to current champion Israel Adesanya, Vettori has gone on a four-fight win streak. He traded with the orthodox Adesanya, absorbing 57 strikes and giving 46. Vettori holds the record among active middleweights for the best significant strike defense in the division.
Originally set to face fellow southpaw Darren Till, Vettori was looking to break into the top five. Till dropped out due to injury. When Vettori heard this he took to Twitter to say, “I’m next in line for the title, whoever has something to say show the f*ck up in 2 weeks so I can whoop your ass and shut you off for good.”
Now, Vettori will fight a different style fighter in the main event matchup, as Holland uses an orthodox stance. Vettori in his UFC run has faced seven orthodox opponents with a 4-2-1 record against them. Vettori also would have matched Till in height and reach but now will be dwarfed by the taller and longer Holland. This will be Vettori’s second time fighting five rounds. His first five-round fight was a decision victory in December 2020 against Jack Hermansson. Similar to Holland, Hermansson fights orthodox and had a slight height and reach advantage.
Kevin Holland (21-6)
Kevin Holland, the Texas-born fighter, has had a whirlwind 2020. At just 28 years old, the fighter won five fights over only eight months. He was nominated for fighter of the year. Most notably, he knocked out former Strikeforce and DREAM champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the first round. Holland is most known for his talking throughout his fights and also uses rangy, long kicks against his opponents. In the UFC, Holland is 9-3.
His most recent fight was a loss against NCAA Div. II wrestler Derek Brunson. This was a five-round main event in which Brunson landed six successful takedowns and held ground control for nearly 70 percent of this fight; taking a decision victory. Holland took little damage in this fight and will only have a 31-day turnaround since this bout, in the main event of Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland happening Saturday.
Kevin Holland will be hungry and focused to get back to the win column and possibly move up higher in the top 10. Holland currently holds the record among active middleweights for total strikes landed with 1057. Against southpaws – such as Vettori – in the UFC, Holland has a record of 3-1. This singular loss was his most recent to Brunson.
Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland
Taking a closer look at Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland, we will compare similarly styled opponents. Vettori most recently defeated the orthodox Hermansson in a five-round decision victory.
What Vettori was doing in this fight was controlling the lead hand and landing his cross. With this, he was able to score a knockdown in Round 1. Throughout the fight, Hermansson, with greater reach and height, was looking to land kicks to the lead leg and body. As an answer, Vettori stood his ground and fired volleys of combination punching back.
Hermansson was not able to land a strike without Vettori giving some back, as nearly every strike was punished. With this strategy, Vettori out-landed Hermansson with 164 significant strikes to 122. Vettori is primarily a boxing head-hunter with 143 significant strikes of 164 – or 87 percent – going to Hermansson’s head. Vettori’s most common counter is planting his feet and using a pull counter, leaning back, getting his head out of the way, against his opponents’ salvo then following up with his own strikes.
Kevin Holland has faced 4 southpaws in his UFC run, and most of these were mixed with wrestling and grappling exchanges.
In terms of pure striking Holland outworked the southpaw striker Joaquin Buckley. Buckley is a slightly shorter southpaw who uses a boxing-heavy combination punching focus. In this bout, Holland focused on body and leg kicks to control range. Utilizing straight kicks primarily, Holland was able to land 43 percent% of his output to Buckley’s body and legs. To the open side, Holland threw a lightning-fast right straight which dropped Buckley twice and ultimately led to Holland’s third-round TKO victory. Buckley relied heavily on head movement, so as an answer, Holland faked a left, Buckley slipped, and Holland followed it with a right cross which put away his opponent.
This match-up, Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland, will be southpaw vs orthodox and we will see if Vettori deals with being shorter and having a reach disadvantage. We will also see if Holland’s kicks can affect and lead the fight as he will be planning to do. Vettori will try to turn the fight into a closer range boxing fight and Holland will be looking to keep and create space. Ultimately, the winner will hold their rank in the top 10 and be soon seeking a top 5 opponent. For where these two want to be, this fight is a must-win for each fighter.
Tale of the Tape – Vettori vs Holland
|Marvin Vettori||Name||Kevin Holland|
|55-33||Opponents UFC Record||58-47|
|6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)||Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|45%||Sig. Strike Accuracy||56%|
|4.78||Strikes Landed per Min.||4.14|
|829||Total Strikes Landed||1057|
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