Vettori vs Holland Preview and Prediction - 4/10/21
Kevin Holland (21-6-0) vs Marvin Vettori (16-4-1)
UFC on ABC 2 is headlined by two dangerous top 10 middleweights. Both men will be looking to take a step toward title contention with a win this Saturday night!
Kevin Holland took full advantage of the UFC needing healthy fighters in 2020. “Trailblazer” fought five times last year and won all five. This set up his first main event slot alongside Derek Brunson a few weeks ago. His momentum was halted when he succumbed to Brunson’s wrestling as he was largely laid on and controlled for five rounds. He looks for a quick turnaround as he’s stepping in for the injured Darren Till on short notice.
Since losing a split decision to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, Marvin Vettori has rattled off four straight victories. His last outing saw him soundly defeat Jack Hermansson via 5 round unanimous decision. The Italian bruiser is lobbying for a rematch against Adesanya and a win against Holland will propel him in the right direction.
How They Match Up
Kevin Holland is one of the calmest fighters you will see in the octagon. No matter what position he is in, he’s completely unfazed by being in an active fist fight. He gained a reputation for trash talking his opponents during the fight whenever he’s within earshot. Despite this gimmick, he’s actually a very skilled fighter. He’s incredibly rangey with an 81 inch reach and he typically knows how to use it very well (12 KO’s on his record). I say typically because during the Brunson fight he actually had his opponent on skates but instead of teeing off, he clinched up and found himself on his back shortly thereafter. Speaking of grappling, Holland also has a blackbelt in jiu-jitsu so he sometimes welcomes a fighter to take him down.
Marvin Vettori is a high output striker who lands 4.78 strikes per minute. He’s also incredibly durable, never being finished in his pro career. He is a brown belt in BJJ, which is showcased by 9 of his 16 wins coming by submission. Despite those submission numbers, he generally comes out looking to throw hands and use his physicality to bully his opponents. He’ll blend in some grappling when the opportunity arises as well but that opportunity is usually a result of him already dropping his foe with a big left hand.
I actually think this is going to be a more difficult matchup for Vettori than the Till fight. Till was going to come out trying to take the center of the octagon with low hands which was going to play right into Vettori’s striking. Holland will have a healthy 7 inch reach advantage and will present more of a moving target. Holland will have a speed advantage with his hands and feet as well.
Both men had their first 5 round main events in their last fights so I expect them to have a good idea of what kind of pace they can push. That pace will probably be pretty frantic from the get-go.
When Vettori matched up with Adesanya, he held his own by scoring some takedowns to nullify the huge reach disadvantage in that one. That to me says he’s smart enough to utilize that edge if things aren’t going well on the feet (he’s also durable enough to test it out). Holland is just too willing to get put on his back for me to back him. The jiu jitsu threat was also nowhere to be found in his last fight where he was controlled for almost 17 minutes and attempted zero submissions.