UFC Vegas 22 goes down this weekend in Las Vegas, as fireball middleweight contender Kevin Holland faces Derek Brunson in the main event. Holland has trailblazed his way into the top 10 in the middleweight rankings in 2020. He competed and won a record five times last year.
His most recent win came against a tough as nails Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza at UFC 256, where he knocked the Brazilian out from a defensive position on the mat. He’s certainly on fire at the moment, and it will take something special to stop him. With that being said, Derek Brunson is arguably the toughest fight of his career.
In the co-main event, lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie returns to face Brad Riddel. The card also features a number of other exciting bouts.
Derek Brunson vs Kevin Holland
Holland is on a five-fight win streak and has won eight of his past nine fights. Brunson has also piled up a three-fight win streak, beating up-and-coming contenders in Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch, and Edmen Shahbazyan. He’s as tough a gatekeeper as they come in MMA, but that doesn’t mean he has killed his hopes for a title shot.
Brunson vs Holland is an extremely interesting stylistic matchup. Brunson has the advantage in the wrestling department, but Holland is extremely aggressive off his back. What truly shifts the tide in Holland’s favor is his striking superiority. He is fast, agile, accurate, and extremely powerful. His style has proved to be the Achilles heel of his opponent in the past, which means if Brunson doesn’t take this fight to the mat, Holland will trailblaze his way to another win at UFC Vegas 22.
Gregor Gillespie vs Brad Riddel
Gregor Gillespie is coming off a vicious head kick knockout defeat at the hands of Kevin Lee. He was undefeated prior to fighting ‘The Motown Phenom’, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts after his first professional setback. However, he’s got a favorable matchup in Brad Riddel.
Riddel is a solid striker, but he lacks knockout power. On the other hand, Gillespie is a monster on the mat. At one point in his career, he was tipped as the guy to beat Khabib Nurmagomedov. It’s clear that he has the potential to be a strong contender in the lightweight division, and if all goes well at UFC Vegas 22, he will be able to implement his wrestling-heavy gameplan and get his hand raised.
Tai Tuivasa vs Don’Tale Mayes
Tai Tuivasa knocked out Stefan Struve at UFC 254 to break free from an unusual three-fight losing streak. He was undefeated in his professional career before he crossed paths with Junior dos Santos, who handed the Australian his first loss. However, with time on his side, he’s ready to gradually work his way back up, and earn a title shot down the road.
Don’Tale Mayes is certainly a favorable matchup for Tuivasa. ‘Bam Bam’ is the better striker and should be able to pick his opponent apart unless something terribly unexpected happens. It’ll also be interesting to see how Mayes handles a step-up in competition.
Adrian Yanez vs Gustavo Lopez
After a 40 second TKO win over Brady Huang at Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020, Adrian Yanez made his UFC debut against Victor Rodriguez, beating him under 3 minutes through a vicious head kick knockout. He’s also on a five-fight win streak. Gustavo Lopez is also on a decent run, losing only one of his last four fights.
Après un passage remarqué à DWCS, le talentueux @yanezmma en a mis plein la vie à sa seconde sortie dans l'Octogone.
— UFC Québec (@UFCQuebec) March 16, 2021
Yanez vs Lopez is an intriguing matchup because both fighters are looking to break into the bantamweight rankings. While Yanez is a knockout artist, Lopez can win fights both on the feet and on the mat. Lopez is better-rounded and has more chances of winning the fight, but Yanez has the edge in striking, and his knockout power is no secret. While this isn’t a high-profile fight, it is one that guarantees fireworks at UFC Vegas 22.
Song Kenan vs Max Griffin
Song Kenan is on a two-fight win streak, and will surely be looking to increase it to three on the bounce. However, beating Max Griffin wouldn’t be an easy task. Song is a finisher as he has earned 14 out of his 16 career wins by the way of stoppage. Griffin has his share of stoppage wins too, and is a decent threat on the feet. Song has the edge in all areas except for one, which is the reach. But rest assured, this fight will be very competitive.
Other Fights On The Card
- Cheyanne Buys vs Montserrat Ruiz
- Marion Reneau vs Macy Chiasson
- Leonardo Santos vs Grant Dawson
- Trevin Giles vs Roman Dolidze
- Montel Jackson vs Jesse Strader
- Julia Avila vs Julija Stoliarenko
- JP Buys vs Bruno Gustavo da Silva
What are your predictions for UFC Vegas 22, headlined by Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland?
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