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UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Shahbazyan: Kevin Holland vs Trevin Giles Preview

As we wave goodbye to the beaches and amazing fights of Fight Island, it’s time to get back to normal. The UFC returns to the APEX with some amazing fights to keep an eye on. The APEX will host 11 fights full of contenders seeking title shots. Each fight on the card is set to perform for the fans with some UFC debuts for fans to enjoy. However, all of the fights are leading up to an insane main event. Middleweight veteran Derek Brunson will take on UFC prospect Edmen Shahbazyan. Today, we will be previewing the Middleweight bout lower on the card. Two Texas-based brawlers will be going head to head in Kevin Holland and Trevin Giles. They will be hoping to cement their names into the middleweight rankings contention.

Tale Of The Tape

Kevin HollandTale Of The TapeTrevin Giles
17-5MMA Record12-2
27Age27
185lbsWeight185lbs
191cmHeight183cm
206cmReach188cm

Kevin Holland

Kevin Holland made his UFC debut in 2018 with a loss over current light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos (21-7). However, fans should not feel that due to his UFC career he is inexperienced in this game. In March 2015, Kevin Holland made his professional MMA debut. This means that over his 5 years with the sport, he has completed 22 fights. This gives him an average of almost 4.5 fights per year during his mid-20s.

People will debate that this has gained Holland the valuable fight experience he needs. However, this many fights can also take a toll on your body. Before his time in the UFC, Holland was dipping and diving around different organisations. Despite this, being in his younger years, Holland was still able to go up against some high-level opponents that have also gone on to do big things in the UFC.

Before Kevin was signed for the UFC, he was trying to build a name for himself on the smaller stage. However, this doesn’t mean that he was fighting low-level fighters. He fought some of the best contenders in Bellator, Kings of the Cage, and even LFA. Holland is known for basing his fighting style upon the great George St. Pierre.

Kevin Holland has openly stated his love for the UFC future Hall of Famer and claims that he still manages to learn from GSP’s older fights to this day. The switching style of GSP incorporates wrestling, striking and the ability to stay unpredictable to the opponents. GSP earned belts in all aspects of MMA and this allowed him to be comfortable in all areas of the fight. This is something we see in the career of Holland to this day.

One thing to note about this fight is the high finish rate that Holland has due to his power in all aspects of the fights. On the feet, his fast and slick boxing generates the power to really put opponents away. However, recently, Holland is working on implementing more kicks and takedowns to his game.

We saw this unpredictability in his last fight where he landed a powerful knee up the middle to get the finish against Anthony Hernandez. Will this be able to play a factor against Giles? Have your say below.

Trevin Giles

On the other side of the octagon, we have Trevin “The Problem” Giles hoping to spoil the party. With just 4 amateur fights, Trevin jumped straight into his professional MMA career in 2012. He sustained an amateur record of 4-1, with his only loss coming via guillotine choke. Giles then went an impressive 8-0 before signing for the UFC in 2017.

The most impressive thing about Giles’ career before the UFC was the fact that all 8 of those wins came via stoppage. This made Giles a well-known fan-favorite around the MMA world with fans from all over the world tuning in to watch him fight. It came to the point that Giles fans would be expecting a finish at the end of every fight.

Giles would always hit hard and threw every shot with bad intentions. Opponents would always try to take down Giles to neutralize his power on the feet. Also, with Giles having a high percentage of muscle mass it was believed that takedowns would slow Giles and make him easier to dispose of on the feet.

However, Giles had a trick in his back pocket. Giles would work on his Jiu-Jitsu as it was a reoccurring actor that, at some point, his fights would take to the ground. This led to 6 of those finishes ending via submission. This made Giles a boogeyman of the middleweight division due to his well-rounded skill set.

Giles was then offered a main event fight against current UFC light heavyweight contender Ryan Spann. Spann seemed to be the first opponent that was happy with all areas that the fight went and was the first “firefight” in Giles’ career. Giles was able to land hard strikes and get the occasional takedown. The only issue is, everything that Giles was able to land was matched by Spann and this led to a razor-close split decision going the way of the Texan and taking him to 9-0.

After this fight, Giles was signed by the UFC and was scheduled to fight James Bochnovic. He was able to use his takedown pedigree to finish the fight with vicious ground and pound. In his time with the UFC, Giles has managed to sustain a record of 3-2 and has only fallen short to a few high-level opponents. Does he have what it takes to defeat Kevin Holland?

Fight Breakdown

Despite Kevin Holland being the slight favorite, the odds make you have to think that this fight is pretty much even. The abilities of both fighters make it harder to pick a side. I think that this fight will come down to whoever cam impose their skillset first. Both guys have elite striking and it should be fairly even on the feet. However, if Giles can get this fight to the ground, I feel his Jiu-Jitsu makes this a bad scenario for Holland.

Holland has shown good takedown defense in the past but if Giles can keep the submission setups coming thick and fast, Holland may be in for a tough night. Kevin Holland has lost a grappling bout against Anthony Cronce and before that was submitted by Brendan Allen all in the space of a year. This could highlight that his ground game may not be able to handle Giles. This could also highlight that his understanding of range is not good enough and could mean that this fight could end up on the ground.

Trevin Giles would have been fully confident taking this fight to the ground and utilizing his Jiu-Jitsu. However, 2 of Giles’ last 3 fights have ended in him being submitted via guillotine choke. This may leave Giles hesitant to taking this fight to the ground, and if Kevin Holland can keep this one on the feet, it could also be a long night for Giles.

However, neither guy has a real weakness and the fight could go either way. I would say that, despite both guys having power, Holland is more likely to find the target and land with more volume strikes. I have no doubt that if Holland can impose his skillset first and start to hurt Giles, this fight will end up on the ground, and that is where I would give Giles the advantage.

It is a common theme that, in the UFC, if two guys are elite boxers, the fight will end up on the mat. However, I feel that an unexpected factor in this fight will be kicks. With the smaller octagon at the APEX, movement is very important. With the octagon being small, you need to circle the octagon way more to avoid getting caught in the center.

Lots of fighters in the APEX have used leg kicks to stop this. Especially lately, lots of fighters have used calf kicks and are even using them to get finishes. Giles and Holland have occasionally shown a good kicking game that could play a huge factor. Holland using kicks can mean that his opponent will be leaving his hands down to prevent this or he could leave himself vulnerable for takedowns.

Either way, this is a really interesting matchup between two game opponents that you do not want to miss. Who do you have in this one? Leave your opinion below.


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