The UFC returns to us this evening with UFC Vegas 23, headlined by top ten ranked middleweight talents Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland.
Co-headlining the event is a very intriguing featherweight bout between Arnold Allen and Sodiq Yusuff.
Allen comes into the bout ranked at No. 10 in the world at 145 lbs, while Yusuff comes in ranked at No. 11. This was a very telling fight to see where each of these young men are at in their careers.
In the headliner, we had No. 6 ranked Marvin Vettori taking on No. 10 ranked Kevin Holland, considering No. 5 ranked Darren Till withdrew from his scheduled bout against Vettori with a broken collarbone a couple weeks ago.
Vettori came to the UFC back in August of 2016 with a record of 10-2, and has since improved that to 16-4-1 with his most recent victory over No. 7 ranked Jack Hermansson in December, marking his fourth-straight victory.
He also hasn’t lost since his split decision defeat to UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in April of 2018.
Holland came to the UFC in August of 2018 with a record of 13-3, and has since climbed to 21-6 in this short amount of time. That included a 5-0 run in 2020 with four knockout finishes, up until that streak was halted when he was defeated by No. 4 ranked Derek Brunson last month.
Continue reading to see how this middleweight main event went down:
Official Result: Marvin Vettori def. Kevin Holland via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44)
Holland is looking incredibly sharp early on with his leg kicks, and with his straight punches.
However, Vettori is able to close the distance and tie up with him. After a couple minutes of pressing Holland into the fence, Vettori is able to secure a takedown right into Holland’s guard.
Holland is trying to put his feet on Vettori’s hips to get up, and is also throwing upkicks. Certainly a different plan than he had against Brunson 21 days ago, he’s definitely in this fight. He does however need to keep Vettori off him.
Vettori’s pace is already starting to overwhelm Holland, as he’s able to secure a takedown early in round two.
It’s not the most fan-friendly fighting style, but as we saw three weeks ago, this is the way to defeat Holland.
The remainder of the round is spent with Vettori pounding away at Holland from top position, so much so that Holland’s eye is starting to shut.
Vettori puts Holland on his back even earlier at the start of round three, and it’s starting to look like we all know the outcome of this fight.
Vettori passes to mount and sinks in an arm-triangle choke, but is unable to submit the Travis Lutter black belt and Holland is back to his feet, before being dragged down again.
It’s incredibly apparent what Holland needs to work on, he just hasn’t had the correct amount of time to fix it.
Holland does make his way back up, but he appears to be pretty labored.
Holland is taken down at the start of round four, just as he was in the previous rounds.
As long as Vettori stays on top of Holland for the next two minutes, he’ll have over 2:30 of control in every single round. That’s over half the round he’s controlled throughout these first four, and he’s mounted Holland once again.
Holland is eventually able to regain his guard, but is eating a load of punishment for his troubles nonetheless.
Holland stunned Vettori with a beautiful punch combo right at the start, but is taken down as soon as he sees Vettori’s reaction. It’s too bad he hasn’t been able to get anything going, but that’s a huge credit to Vettori.
It’s not just his wrestling either, Vettori lands nice punches on his entries and exits as well, aiding him in setting everything up so well.
This fight has looked exactly like Holland’s fight with Derek Brunson three weeks ago.
Holland has been out-wrestled for five straight rounds, now ten straight rounds. He nearly knocked Brunson out at the beginning of round three last month, and he had Vettori hurt at the beginning of the fifth this time.
Holland needs to take some time off in order to promptly work on his wrestling defense, and Vettori is ready for the top of the division, as we already knew. Now he takes a five-fight win streak into a hopeful rescheduled bout with Darren Till.