The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us tonight, July 29, 2023, for UFC 291, going down live from the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Headlining the event is a lightweight rematch over five years in the making as former interim champions Dustin Poirier (29-7) and Justin Gaethje (24-4) finally go at it again following their Fight of the Year effort back in 2018.
Co-headlining the event is a 205 lb clash showcasing former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) and former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira (7-2).
Opening up the main card tonight was a welterweight bout between the returning Michael Chiesa (18-7), who has not fought in nearly two years, and Kevin Holland (25-9), who has fought five times since Chiesa’s latest appearance.
Following the jump from 155 lbs to 170 lbs, Chiesa rattled off four-straight victories from 2018 to 2021, before dropping his last two to Vicente Luque and Sean Brady. Holland on the other hand, following the move from 185 lbs to 170 lbs, had since gone 3-2, most recently KO’ing Santiago Ponzinibbio earlier this year in April.
Continue reading to see how this welterweight affair went down:
Official Result: Kevin Holland def. Michael Chiesa via submission (D’Arce choke) at 2:39 of round one
Chiesa changes his level for an early takedown, Holland countering with a series of nice uppercuts. Holland’s striking is looking slick tonight as we expected it would. Chiesa shoots in on a single leg, changing it to a double before he looks to put Holland on his back.
The fence stops him from doing so however, but he shoots right back in and again comes very close to securing it, but the length and height of Holland keeps him upright. Chiesa shoots on a blind takedown after eating a knee not long thereafter, being locked up into a D’Arce choke in the exchange.
It only takes a couple seconds from here and the returning Chiesa is forced to tap.
This might be the best Holland has ever looked.
KEVIN HOLLAND SUBMITS CHIESA IN THE 1st ROUND
— 🌴ᴛʜᴇᴀʀᴛᴏꜰᴡᴀʀ🌴 (@TheArtOfWar6) July 30, 2023
Kevin Holland improves to 4-2 as a welterweight tonight at UFC 291.
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— UFC (@ufc) July 30, 2023
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you’d like to see those pieces, be sure to check out learnaboutnature.com!