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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:45 PM

UFC Fight Night Brunson vs. Holland Predictions

Mar. 18, 2021
by Adam Lykkesteen
UFC Expert

UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland Main Event Predictions

  • Date: Saturday, Mar. 20, 2021
  • TV-Time: ESPN/ESPN+, 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: UFC Apex
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

One of 2020’s biggest breakout stars, Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland, returns to the octagon this weekend, as he headlines his first UFC event. Holland crushed 2020, winning five consecutive bouts. He faces UFC middleweight veteran Derek Brunson, 38, in the main event of UFC Vegas 22.

The co-main event of UFC Vegas 22 sees the return of lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie, after a one-and a-half-year hiatus. He will take on Australian prodigy, and teammate of Israel Adesanya, Brad Riddell.

MAIN EVENT - Middleweight Bout

Kevin Holland vs. Derek Brunson

Holland’s odds clearly reflect that the general public is finally getting on the ‘Trailblazer’ hype train, and with good reason. After going 5-0 in 2020, the year where the UFC attracted an unusually high amount of viewers from all over the world, it’s only fair that Holland gets his credit. However, if we want to bet Holland, we have to accept that from now on and moving forward, there will be a little less value each time he fights, granted he keeps winning.

As with any fighter, a large fanbase rarely adds value in betting that fighter. The opposite actually tends to be the case.

However, now that we got the value issue for Holland out of the way, is there really any value on the ‘dog in this matchup? I personally don’t believe so.

Look past Holland’s brash personality and find that his analytics are off the charts! He’s young, a great strike differential, and a nice 81-inch reach makes him a nightmare for many fighters in the middleweight division.

He’s good on the feet and on the ground, and he knows how to finish a fight.

Matched up against Derek Brunson, the division’s stepping stone, I don’t see anything in the data that leads me to believe that Brunson will win this bout 6 times if they fight 10 times.

Brunson is 38 years old, and fighters at that age are usually already a few years past their fighting prime. In the case of Brunson, I think his decline has been forgotten by the fact that he just beat Edmen Shahbazyan, the 185 lb hype train from Ronda Rousey’s stable.

We can’t dwell on narratives in this game, and the reach, age and overall striking ability of our favorite just trumps the veteran in this fight.

Holland vs. Brunson Predictions

Give me Kevin Holland on the money line at odds -175 (bet $175 to win $100).

CO-MAIN EVENT - Lightweight Bout

Gregor Gillespie vs. Brad Riddell

Lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie, 34, returns to the octagon this weekend after a one-and-a-half-years hiatus, following his one and only professional loss at the hands of Kevin Lee.

Gillespie is as well-rounded as they come, and has strong abilities in most aspects of fighting. Given that he's fighting Brad Riddell Saturday night, a renowned striker, I think we can expect a grappling heavy game plan from Gillespie.

If we set the abilities of both men aside for a minute, and look at the odds, it's clear that the betting market expects Gillespie to win this fight easily.

However, I'm not sure we can favor Gregor that much after such a lengthy layoff, not to mention his devastating KO loss to Lee.

Such losses can change the trajectory of a fighter's career. We've seen it before.

Riddell is a teammate of middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, and his striking skills are incredibly good. The thing is, one takedown might be all it takes for Gillespie to end the fight with a submission.

Given that submissions are becoming increasingly rare, though, I think we can expect this fight to either go the distance, in which case Gillespie will be likely to win a decision, racking up many minutes of control time, or, we can expect this fight to end with a KO, in favor of Riddell.

I have to say I'm leaning more towards the latter of those to scenarios, since Riddell has such a good camp behind him, and given the fact that his wrestling defense has actually helped him in his last three UFC wins. Actually, Riddell hasn't faced a non-wrestler yet, and he even managed to get bad grappling phenom Magomed Mustafaev in his second UFC outing.

Riddell has fought this fight before, and he has shown he has what it takes to win. Can we say the same for Gillespie after that Kevin Lee loss? Not really.

I'm going with the striker to get the win in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 22, this weekend.

Gillespie vs. Riddell Predictions

Give me Brad Riddell via KO/TKO at +425 (bet $100 to win $425) via BetMGM.

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