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UFC Vegas 23: Marvin Vettori vs Kevin Holland Fight Breakdown and Prediction

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While Vettori vs Holland was not the original main event of UFC Vegas 23, it sure is as good a short-notice replacement fight as fans could’ve hoped for. Vettori was originally scheduled to face Darren Till, however, a collar bone injury would force the British superstar out of the main event, and Holland would step up on 21 days’ notice.

UFC Vegas 23 is a stacked card, from top to bottom! The prelims feature some really incredible matchups and fights like Impa Kasanganay vs Sasha Palatnikov, and Jack Shore vs Hunter Azure are two matchups you definitely don’t want to miss. Before we see Vettori vs Holland, Arnold Allen and Sodiq Yusuff will take the cage as our co-main event. Other notable fights on the card include Mike Perry vs Daniel Rodriguez and Mackenzie Dern vs Nina Ansaroff. With so many amazing fights, we could spend forever talking about them! So, let’s jump right into the Vettori vs Holland preview, and go over just what makes this such an exciting fight.

The Road To Vettori vs Holland

Marvin Vettori (16-4-1, 6-2-1 UFC)

“The Italian Dream” seems to be chasing just that. On a four-fight win streak, Vettori has been ruthless on his rampage towards a UFC title shot. First getting a start to professional MMA in promotions such as UCMMA and Venator FC, “The Italian Dream” was 10-2 leading into his UFC debut against Alberto Uda at UFC 202.

Although Vettori would win his debut, he would go 1-2-1 in his next four UFC fights. So, Instead of a dream, Vettori was experiencing more of an Italian nightmare…

After the last loss in that 1-2-1 run, Vettori was a changed man. Brutalizing his way thru the likes of Karl Roberson and Jack Hermansson, “The Italian Dream” was back and more vivid than ever.

Kevin Holland (21-6, 8-3 UFC)

“Trail Blazer” burst onto the scene fighting under promotions such as Xtreme Knockout and LFA. After acquiring a 12-3 record, Holland got his shot on Dana White’s Contender Series against Will Santiago Jr. and defeated him via decision. Imagine, going from facing the likes of Santiago, to Thiago Santos. Huge level up in competition, right? Well, that’s what Holland was faced with.

Losing his UFC debut to Santos at UFC 227 via decision, this loss would be followed up with three wins by Holland. He quickly dispatched the likes of Alessio Di Chirico and Gerald Meerschaert on his way to the Brendan Allen fight at UFC on ESPN 6. Holland would lose that bout via second-round submission, however, this loss would be followed by yet another big win streak.

This time, on the road to Vettori vs Holland, “Trail Blazer” made it 5 wins in a row. With notable wins over the likes of Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley, Darren Stewart, and most impressive of all, a highlight reel finish against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 256.

Vettori vs Holland Fight Breakdown

So, leading into this matchup, there is widespread talk that an easy key to victory for Vettori could be to utilize the grappling. After fights like the Santos bout, and more recently the Derek Brunson fight, Holland has kind of been exposed when it comes to grappling, and how prone he is to being controlled by stronger opposition. While Holland’s head coach Travis Lutter claims the grappling skills of his protege could rival those of a GSP, from what we have seen there’s still a lot of work to be done.

As far as things go in the standup department, we will see Holland’s orthodox stance go head to head with the southpaw stance of “The Italian Dream”. Historically, there’s a chance that this difference of stances could lead to an advantage for the southpaw. However, that is more situational as every fighter has differing experiences and success when battling the opposite stance.

Skill-wise, striking is Holland’s bread and butter. A self-labeled “Kung-Fu guy”, “Trail Blazer” is known for smack-talking his opponents while simultaneously gunning for their heads and fabled “knockout points” that Holland speaks so fondly of.

When it comes to Vettori, “The Italian Dream” is as well-rounded as it gets. His standup has room for improvement as everyone’s does, however, it is extremely polished and it paves the way for the grappling of Vettori, which some would say is his greatest strength.

Vettori vs Holland Prediction

While Holland is one of those guys who can always pull-off a finish, he historically struggles against good grapplers. There’s a seemingly clear path to victory for Vettori, and if he stays level-headed, patient, and grinds “Trail Blazer” out, we could very well see “The Italian Dream” continue this Saturday.

Vettori vs Holland prediction: Marvin Vettori via third round ground and pound TKO

So, who are you picking in this Vettori vs Holland fight? Leave your predictions down below in the comments!


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Combat Sports and Motorsports Editor. Staff Writer for Overtime Heroics MMA. Named first ever ‘Writer of the Month’ in January 2021 for OTH MMA.