UFC Orlando fell apart last Saturday. night (December 3, 2022) in Orlando, Florida, blowing off the roof of the Amway Center in what was truly an exciting night of fights. In fact, all seven main card fights ended in finishes, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues.
Among them was Bryan Barberena, who was submitted by Rafael dos Anjos (recap here). And Tai Tuivasa, who suffered his second consecutive knockout loss after being stopped by Sergei Pavlovich in less than a minute (highlights). But which fighter suffers from the worst post-fight hangover now days into the show?
Going into his headlining fight against Stephen Thompson, Holland was hoping to erase the memory of his first-round loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279. Instead, “Trailblazer” found himself the loser of two just after his corner stopped the fight in the fourth round following a broken hand that prevented him from getting out of the offensive volume he is accustomed to.
Things started out relatively well for “Big Mouth”, who touched up Thompson a few times. But once “Wonderboy” started to find his groove, especially with his foot attack, he got comfortable and started letting it all hang out. In doing so, Holland ate several big shots. Additionally, his broken hand took even more damage every time he tried to block one of Thompson’s kicks.
There were a few occasions when Holland had the opportunity to stay in first position but decided to let Thompson back down, likely as a result of a gentlemen’s agreement they had to hold the fight to please the fans. This move may have cost him dearly, as having the weight advantage over Thompson could have paid dividends for him had he decided to hold on to his position.
“We see all the time, people say, ‘The first to shoot is a coward,'” Bisping said on the UFC Orlando post-fight show on ESPN+. “But guess what, people shoot, because you know what, it’s allowed in the rules. It’s a mixed martial arts contest. It was one of the first times, and maybe the only time, where I saw someone really up to the task.
“Kevin Holland had first place. Clearly. A few times he said, ‘No, no, no. We’re going to strike. That’s what we came here to do. I think he’ll regret that decision at the future, because it was his ego that got the better of him.
“It’s not a popularity contest in terms of ‘Oh, everyone thinks I’m such a badass.’ No, you come here to win a fight. It’s high stakes. Do you want to be a champion? Do you want to make a lot of money? Do you want to be known as one of the best fighters in the world, or a guy who puts on a show and maybe gives a win. It wasn’t a high fighting IQ.
As for what’s next for the talkative welterweight, that’s a little hard to fathom. Before his fight against Thompson, he had called it a day in MMA. But that didn’t last too long, leading many pundits to believe he was just trolling fight fans. In the week leading up to the event, he teased another retirement should Khamzat Chimaev get a title shot, which makes us wonder where exactly his head is.
Holland is only 30, but in four years with the UFC he has competed 17 times, or about four times a year. That’s a lot of fights, so maybe he’s a bit exhausted.
If you factor in the fact that he suffered three fractures to his right hand, his comeback schedule could be extended, and the landscape at 170 pounds will look dramatically different when he makes his comeback in 2023. That said, it It’s hard to predict who we can pair him with because it’s unclear how long he’ll be away.
In the meantime, we’ll leave it to you to put on your matchmaker hat to give some predictions or hopes regarding possible future clashes for Holland in the comments section below.
For full results and coverage from UFC Orlando, click here.
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