We have another night in Last Vegas to enjoy after the thrills and excitement of last week’s card, with some significant bouts that can impact greatly on the weight division rankings.
Heavy hitters go for blows
This headline sees two veterans of the middleweight division go head-to-head. Both athletes have 21 professional wins under their belt and will be eager to record another in this main event.
Winning three in a row, and 12 of his last 17, Derek Brunson will look to take the bout to his opponent, being notorious for finishing off opponents in the first round. He has 14 first-round finishes, half of them coming in 1:16 or less, which is enough for most first-round finishes in middleweight history. Weathering the storm is required to stand a chance of beating him. He also has the second-best bottom position percentage in middleweight history, expect him to try and control this bout and bully Holland.
On the back of a very successful 2020, Kevin Holland became the third UFC fighter to record five wins in a calendar year. He boasts the highest striking accuracy in UFC middleweight history, landing over 60% of his attempts. On average the ‘Trailblazer’ lands 4.62 significant strikes per minute, so he’ll hope to consistently chip away at Brunson and wear him down. That being said, he also has a terrific first-round finishing record, securing 11 in his career so far.
PERENNIAL CONTENDER DEREK BRUNSON AIMS TO BREAK KEVIN HOLLAND’S HOT STREAK
· Derek Brunson (21-7, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.) sets his sights high on securing his fourth consecutive victory by turning back another rising contender
o No. 7 ranked middleweight contender
o 12 wins by KO, three via submission
o NCAA Division II wrestler
o On a three-fight win streak
o Holds wins over Edmen Shahbazyan, Lyoto
· Kevin Holland (21-5, fighting out of Fort Worth, Texas) hopes to keep up his growing momentum and continue to build his impressive winning streak
o No. 10 ranked middleweight contender
o 11 wins by KO, six via submission
o First middleweight in UFC history to win five bouts inside a calendar year
o On a five-fight win streak
o Holds wins over Jacare Souza, Charlie Ontiveros and Joaquin Buckley
The Gift that keeps on giving
This clash sees two athletes in good form as they look to establish themselves as a contender in the lightweight division.
Tasting defeat after winning his first 13 professional bouts, Gregor Gillespie will look for redemption in this one. He is versatile, winning six bouts via KO and five via submission, and will look to utilise that to give him the advantage. He has recorded eight first-round finishes, the quickest being a 21-second knockout victory over Andrew Holbrook. ‘The Gift’ will need to back to his best in order to get a win here.
On a six-bout winning streak, Brad Riddell will be hoping to keep that momentum going. He has recorded five knockouts in the MMA and has won all three of his first UFC bouts via decision. Against an opponent that starts bouts fast and looks to end them quickly, Riddell will need to stay vigilant and if he gets through the first round his confidence will start to build. This is a major bout for both of these athletes, who will need a win if they want to start working towards title contention.
GREGOR GILLESPIE FACES BRAD RIDDELL IN THRILLING LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT
· Gregor Gillespie (13-1, fighting out of Long Island, N.Y.) aims to remind fans he’s among the top lightweights in the world in his return to the Octagon
o No. 15 ranked lightweight contender
o Six wins by KO, five via submission
o 2007 NCAA Division I wrestling champion
o Eight first-round finishes
o Holds stoppage victories against Yancy Medeiros, Vinc Pichel and Andrew Holbrook
· Brad Riddell (9-1, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand by way of Christchurch, New Zealand) hopes to keep his momentum going with another show-stealing performance to crack the lightweight top 15
o UFC lightweight
o Five wins by KO
o On a six-fight win streak
o Trains with UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski
o Holds wins over Alex da Silva, Magomed Mustafaev and Jamie Mullarkey
Cruising for a bruising
This could be one of the bouts of the night, as the no.9 and no.11 ranked women’s bantamweight contenders face off to solidify themselves in the top 10.
Having finished all but one of her victories, Marion Reneau will be hoping to get back to winning ways and snap her three-bout losing streak in the UFC. She has won her previous two bouts before that, one via strikes and one via submission. In her professional career, Reneau has recorded four first-round victories, the fastest being a 10-second KO against Lydia Reyes.
Since moving to the bantamweight division Macy Chiasson is off to a solid 3-1 start. She is 7-1 to start her professional career and has recorded five finishes, two by submission and three by KO. It has been over a year since she last competed, defeating Shanna Young by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night in February last year. These two bantamweight athletes are versatile and have a lot at stake in terms of improving their contender status, this has all the makings of an exciting bout.
OTHER FIGHTS ON THE CARD INCLUDE
· Hard-hitting heavyweights collide when Tai Tuivasa (11-3, fighting out of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia) faces Don’Tale Mayes (8-4, fighting out of Louisville, Ken.)
· Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Adrian Yanez (12-3, fighting out of Houston, Texas) aims to deliver another spectacular KO when he faces Gustavo Lopez (12-5, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in a bantamweight bout
· Song Kenan (15-5, fighting out of Beijing, China) faces Max Griffin (16-8, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) in a clash of entertaining welterweight strikers
· Dana White’s Contender Series signee Cheyanne Buys (5-1, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) takes on fellow newcomer Montserrat Ruiz (9-1, fighting out of El Paso, Texas) in a women’s strawweight bout
· Women’s bantamweight contenders battle when No. 9 Marion Reneau (9-6-1, fighting out of Visalia, Calif.) takes on No. 11 Macy Chiasson (7-1, fighting out of Dallas, Texas)
· Streaking lightweights meet when Leonardo Santos (18-4-1, fighting out of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) goes for another impressive finish against Grant Dawson (16-1, fighting out of Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
· Trevin Giles (13-2, fighting out of Houston, Texas) squares off with Roman Dolidze (8-0, fighting out of Batumi, Georgia) in an intriguing middleweight bout
· Montel Jackson (9-2, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) meets newcomer Jesse Strader (5-1, fighting out of Lancaster, Calif.) in a battle of bantamweight prospects
· No. 15 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Julia Avila (8-2, fighting out of Oklahoma City, Okla.) looks to defend her spot in the rankings against Julija Stoliarenko (9-
· Bruno Silva (10-5-2 1NC, fighting out of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil by way of Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil) hopes to return to the win column when he takes on Dana White’s Contender Series veteran JP Buys (9-2, fighting out of Dallas, Texas by way of Brakpan, Gauteng, South Africa) at flyweight
· Johnny Eduardo (28-12, fighting out of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) faces Anthony Birchak (16-7, fighting out of Tucson, Ariz.) in an exciting bantamweight contest