- Date & Location: Saturday, April 10 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas
- Odds: Marvin Vettori (-305) vs. Kevin Holland (+245) via BetOnline
- Prediction: Vettori via decision
The UFC event on Saturday is the second appearance of the fight promotion on ABC. The main event of the card was initially Marvin Vettori vs. Darren Till, but that middleweight matchup between the No. 6 ranked Vettori and No. 5 ranked Till fell through after Till broke his collarbone in training. Kevin Holland, who is the No. 10 ranked UFC middleweight, steps up on short notice to face Vettori.
Vettori is on a four-fight winning streak. His most recent victory came in December when he defeated Jack Hermansson via decision in a five-round main event. Vettori’s most recent loss was an April 2018 split-decision setback to current UFC middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya.
Holland is coming off a March 20 unanimous decision loss to Derek Brunson. That setback ended Holland’s five-fight winning streak. All of those wins took place in 2020. Holland picked up many end-of-year accolades after the run he went on last year.
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VETTORI vs. HOLLAND PREDICTION & PICK
Holland had what can only be described as a terrible performance against Brunson. The UFC spent a lot of time and money in promoting Holland ahead of the Brunson contest. The promotion played up Holland’s entertainment factor and his ability to trash talk while beating his opponents. The 28-year-old did a lot of trash talking in that fight, but not a lot of winning. Brunson scored six takedowns in the fight and racked up 16:55 of control time. The 25-minute bout showed Holland’s lack of takedown defense and inability to get back to his feet once he hit the mat.
Holland’s lack of takedown defense will play into Vettori’s hands. While not a wrestler per se, Vettori has 11 takedowns in his UFC career and I expect he will use those skills in this matchup.
Vettori has a tendency to fight with a lot of aggression and sometimes throws caution to the wind when he strikes. The 27-year-old should avoid attacking in that manner, as Holland has excellent timing and power in his hands.
A good thing for Holland, who is a dynamic and powerful striker, is that he has a height and reach advantage over Vettori. He needs to use those physical benefits to keep Vettori at bay for as long as possible.
Prediction: Vettori -325 via Bovada.
BETTING VALUE WITH VETTORI
Vettori is the better overall fighter and he has the skills to make this a long night for Holland, especially if he exploits Holland’s lack of defensive wrestling, which would be a wise way for Vettori to approach this contest. If the Italian fighter uses his wrestling game he should be able to cruise to a victory.
Vettori also has submission skills. He has nine career submission wins and Holland has two submission losses. If Vettori gets takedowns, I expect him to work hard toward submissions and with five rounds to work, he could force Holland to tap.
The only way I see Holland getting his hand raised is catching Vettori coming in recklessly in pursuit of a knockout of his own.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Vettori is the more skilled fighter and he should have a psychological edge over Holland as well. Holland laid an egg against Brunson and he has said he plans on doing less yapping in this matchup. Holland is the fighter with something to prove in this scrap and he will be under considerable pressure to do so.
If I am Vettori, my plan would be to get Holland comfortable and then, as soon as the opportunity presents itself, take the fight to the ground and try to keep it there.
FIGHT STATS: VETTORI vs. HOLLAND
|Marvin Vettori||Category||Kevin Holland|
|4.78||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.14|
|3.19||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.58|
|1.33||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||1.08|
|0.80||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.70|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Both men have expressed a desire to face Adesanya for the UFC middleweight crown. The winner of this fight might not be next in line for a shot at Adesanya and his title, but they will be one step closer to fighting for the UFC belt. In short, this is an incredibly important fight for both men, but it is more important for Holland considering his recent loss.
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