MMA and UFC fans are on a high after the potential fight of the year between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega for the featherweight belt at UFC 266. However, the UFC Vegas 38 card is stacked with great talent as well. Two hard-hitting light heavyweights, Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker are set to fight in the main event of UFC Vegas 38, on Saturday, the 2nd of October 2021 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland (21-7, W-L) will fight Kyle Daukaus (10-2, W-L) in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 38. The fancy striker, Holland, will be looking to get back to winning ways in his third bout of 2021 and Daukaus will be looking to follow in the footsteps of his brother, Chris Daukaus, who picked up a bonus after his TKO win over Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 266.
Holland went 5-0 in 2020 but is struggling to get a win in 2021 with back-to-back decision losses to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori. Since then, he trained at AKA and with Johnny Hendricks so fans will be interested to see if his takedown defense has improved. Kevin Holland is on a two-fight losing skid but is still ranked in the top 15 at middleweight.
Daukaus (10-2) is 1-2 in the UFC holding a single UFC win over Dustin Stoltzfus. He fought in Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019 against Michael Lombardo and defeated him via unanimous decision. Daukaus is also looking for his first win of 2021 after losing to Phil Hawes earlier this year. He has not been knocked out in his professional career and his only two pro losses were in the UFC via decision.
Holland is 1.91 m tall with a reach of 206 cm and boasts a black belt in Kung Fu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has 21 wins in his pro record with 12 wins by KO and five submission wins. Holland is the former Xtreme Knockout welterweight and middleweight champion, and he holds three UFC performance of the night bonuses. He is tied with Roger Huerta and Neil Magny for most wins in a calendar year (five), and he also holds the record for the most wins in a calendar year in the Middleweight Division (five).
Holland first appeared in Dana White’s contender series in 2018 where he defeated Will Santiago via unanimous decision. Despite the win, Holland did not receive a contract on the show, due to his constant chirping, but he subsequently faced Santos at UFC 227 in 2018. He has since been a staple in the UFC and gained popularity after his five fight win streak in 2020. However, in 2021 Holland finds himself on a two fight losing streak after being dominated by both Brunson and title challenger Vettori. Holland received criticism after he spoke during the entire Brunson fight where he was dominated on the ground and he subsequently lost to Vettori in a similar fashion.
Daukaus is also 1.91 m tall with a 193 cm reach and he has ten wins in his pro record with eight wins by submission. Daukaus is the former Cage Fury middleweight champion and looks to enter the top 15 of the UFC middleweight division with a win over the 13th ranked Holland. Daukaus made his UFC debut against Brendan Allen in 2020, and he lost the short notice fight via unanimous decision. He then defeated Stoltzfus and lost his last fight to Hawes in May 2021.
Daukaus will be fighting his first ranked opponent in Holland, therefore, this is a huge opportunity for him. Holland has spoken about a move down to welterweight, and Daukaus has grappled at heavyweight and has been training at the UFC Performance Institute with his brother in preparation for this fight. The size and power differences will make for a good technical battle.
Holland has a record consisting of twenty-one wins, seven losses, and zero draws with 12 wins by KO and five wins via submission. Daukaus holds ten wins, two losses, zero draws and eight of his wins come via submission. Based on the statistics, Holland has a 57% KO rate in comparison to Daukaus who has a 0% KO rate. In addition, Holland also holds a 13 cm reach advantage over Daukaus.
Holland has been submitted twice in his pro career and has lost five fights via decision. Daukaus has never been knocked out or submitted in his pro career. Furthermore, Daukaus has won 80% of his fights via submission and Holland has only won 24% of his fights via submission. It will therefore be interesting to see if Hollands BJJ black belt comes in handy for this fight.
Both fighters are the same age, but Holland is more experienced with 15 more fights than Daukaus. However, Holland was dominated on the ground in his last two losses and Daukaus has eight submission wins in his pro record. He has also grappled at higher weight classes therefore his power and experience on the ground could be an advantage over Holland.
Holland is the more active experienced fighter with a clear striking advantage, however, Daukaus has a strong ground game which could be a major advantage for him. Holland is coming off a “long break” considering his active schedule so it will be interesting to see if he has adjusted his ground game. The Daukaus camp will be in good spirits after UFC 266 and he will attempt to keep the spirits up. Both fighters have clear advantages, and this co-main event will surely be a technical challenge as both fighters attempt to get their way and get back into the win column. Nevertheless, fans will be in for an audio treat if “Big Mouth” shows up in the Octagon.