UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Preview

UFC marks down its seventh trip to the UFC APEX in as many weeks this Saturday night. Derek Brunson will look to stake his claim in the upper echelon of the middleweight division when he takes on hot prospect Kevin Holland in the main event. The event will be broadcast on BT Sports on March 20. The card can also be streamed on ESPN+.

If Kevin Holland were to win this main event he would likely advance from prospect status to contender status with a victory over UFC veteran, Derek Brunson. The Travis Lutter trained athlete amazingly destroyed Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza from his guard in his last fight. Not with a submission, but with a series of heavy shots while on his back followed by brutal ground and pound.

We have seen Holland’s slick striking skills in previous fights with knockouts of Joaquin Buckley and a slam KO over Charlie Ontiveros in his previous fight. He uses his long limbs to his benefit on the mat, and also on the feet too when he fights at range.

His opponent, Derek Brunson is no stranger to crushing an up-and-coming fighters dreams. He took out promising middleweight Ian Heinisch and another hot prospect when he finished, and dominated Edmen Shahbazyan in his last outing. Derek Brunson is no joke. He has the chance to take Holland’s shine in this main event, a win would see him get a top 5 guy for sure in his next fight.

Holland will fight in a five round fight for the first time in his career, and this will be his first UFC main event. Based on past performances, I think we should get used to seeing “The Trailblazer” in a UFC headlining spot. He has all the tools to win this fight.

Kevin Holland has that star power and is super confident in his own ability. Now he needs to put a few decent wins together, and a few wins over big names under his belt. The win over Jacare was a start and it put the middleweight division on notice. If Holland can get past Brunson, I bet he is pushed into a number one contender slot for his next fight. I would not be surprised to see the rising middleweight prospect fighting for the 185-pound title sometime in the near future.

Gregor Gillespie will make the walk for the first time since his devastating KO loss to Kevin Lee in 2019. Gillespie will face off against City Kickboxing standout Brad Riddell in a lightweight encounter. Both guys always bring the heat, I would expect this fight to be all action.

Tai Tuivasa look to keep his momentum going after his impressive knockout of Stefan Struve last October. The Australian will match his skills with Harry Hunsucker who makes his UFC debut on just a couple of days notice.

A fighter that I’m always excited to see compete is Adrian Yanez. Yanez is DWCS alumni of 2020. On that show his picked up a first round knockout, and he repeated the feat on his UFC debut when he knocked out Victor Rodriguez with a beauty of a head kick. Gustavo Lopez will be his dance partner, currently 1-1 inside the octagon. Lopez looked impressive in his last fight when he choked out Anthony Birchak in the very first round.

Chinese welterweight Kenan Song will square off against Max Griffin. Song stands at 4-1 under the UFC banner while Griffin stand at a UFC record of 4-7. This fight is huge for Griffin at this stage of his career. A women’s strawweight fight will kick off the main card when Cheyanne Buys goes toe-to-toe with Montserrat Ruiz in the 115-pound division.

The prelims headliner will feature a women’s bantamweight bout Marion Reneau vs. Macy Chiasson. Grant Dawson brings a 7-fight win streak into the octagon, trying to put a stop to that run will be Brazilian Leonardo Santos. I can see that fight being a really good contest.

Trevin Giles and Roman Dolidze will battle it out in a middleweight showdown. Dolidze, who fights out of Georgia is undefeated in 8 professional fights. Jesse Strader will make his UFC debut when he squares off against Montel Jackson in the 135-pound division.

Julia Avila and Julija Stoliarenko will battle it out in the women’s bantamweight division. South African fighter JP Buys will fight for the first time under the UFC lights. He faces off against Bruno Silva in the opening bout of the card. There are a few tasty fights on this card and I would expect to see a few finishes on Saturday night. Enjoy the card folks!

Main Card (BT Sports/ESPN+, 7pm ET)

Middleweight: Derek Brunson (12-7) vs. Kevin Holland (21-5)

Lightweight: Gregor Gillespie (13-1) vs. Brad Riddell (9-1)

Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa (11-3) vs. Harry Hunsucker (7-3)

Bantamweight: Adrian Yanez (12-3) vs. Gustavo Lopez (12-5)

Welterweight: Kenan Song (16-5) vs. Max Griffin (16-8)

Women’s Strawweight: Cheyanne Buys (5-1) vs. Montserrat Ruiz (9-1)

Prelims (BT Sports/ESPN+ 10pm ET)

Women’s Bantamweight:Marion Reneau (9-6-1) vs. Macy Chiasson (6-1)

Lightweight: Grant Dawson (16-1) vs. Leonardo Santos (18-3-1)

Middleweight: Trevin Giles (13-2) vs. Roman Dolidze (8-0)

Bantamweight: Montel Jackson (9-2) vs. Jesse Strader (5-1)

Women’s Bantamweight: Julia Avila (8-2) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (9-4-1)

Flyweight: Bruno Silva (10-5-2) vs. JP Buys (9-2)

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma

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