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Kevin Holland gives props to Marvin Vettori for ‘finally becoming a man,’ but not picking him to win at UFC Vegas 16

Kevin Holland was scheduled to compete in Saturday night’s middleweight headliner against Jack Hermansson, but after testing positive for COVID-19, he’ll have to watch the event as a fan.

With Holland’s scratch, Hermansson will now face Marvin Vettori in the new UFC Vegas 16 main event at the UFC APEX. “Trailblazer” won’t have to wait long to have his chance to improve to 5-0 in 2020 as he will now face Vettori’s originally scheduled opponent Ronaldo Souza at UFC 256 on Dec. 12.

News broke this past Saturday in regards to Holland’s removal from the bout, but he had found out the day prior.

“So the UFC sent the test that we take before we travel,” Holland told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I had a minor cold, couple sniffles and stuff like that. Probably allergies with the season change. And then took the test, came back COVID and I was like, ‘Wow, this is COVID? No way this could be COVID.’

“But it is what it is and here I am. I think I found out Friday, after Thanksgiving.”

In addition to losing out on his first main event, Holland’s divisional rival is stepping in to take his spot. The 28-year-old has no bitterness towards the situation whatsoever. In fact, he’s impressed Vettori elected to switch things up on short notice.

“I was proud of him,” Holland said. “It sucks that I can’t fight in the main event but, at the end of the day, a check’s a check. You get a little more for main eventing a card but I’ll make it up in some sideline sponsor money. It just makes you grind a little harder.

“But to see Marvin step up and take the fight, I was like, ‘Dang, why didn’t he take the fight before?’ I know it had to be offered to him before it was offered to me. But props to him. He stepped up, had some juevos. He stepped up in there and got the job done. Win, lose or draw he gets brownie points from me for being a man. Then I checked his age and I was like, ‘He’s a little younger than me. No wonder why he acts the way he acts.’

“But he’s finally becoming a man. I’m proud of him. Good job, bucko. Props to Marvin Vettori, hat’s off to him. If he goes out there and does what I would’ve did, then he gets the job done. If he goes out there and looks like he did in his fight, he won’t look too good.”

Despite losing his first opportunity to headline a UFC event, Holland is happy with the way things turned out, as now he gets to face a perennial contender in “Jacare.” While he was confident he would’ve taken a big step forward in his career had the fight with Hermansson gone down, he doesn’t feel Vettori will have the same fortune.

“I got Jack,” Holland stated. “I like Marvin stepping up last second like that, but in his last fight, he was kind of in a rear naked choke position against Karl Roberson, right? If Jack puts him in that position and he tries to do that muscle flail-out thing that he did last time, it’s not gonna work.

“Again, props to him for the juevos, but nah. That boy, I don’t see him beating Jack. If he beats Jack, shouts out to him, but I don’t see him beating Jack. Plus, Jack seems ready this time. Mentally, he seems like he’s down for whatever. That’s why me and Jack would’ve been a fun fight because we both would’ve been down for whatever.”

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