Kevin Holland wasn’t happy with his performance but he still did enough to notch his third win in a row overall.
The always outspoken Contender Series veteran had to dig deep during a three-round battle to get the split decision victory over Darren Stewart to kick off the UFC Vegas 11 main card. Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Holland while the third official gave the fight 29-28 to Stewart.
“I’m always happy to get a win but we can run it back,” Holland said after telling UFC president Dana White that he actually thought the fight might be declared a draw.
Holland and Stewart were both determined to get a knockout or perhaps a Fight of the Night bonus after trading punches in a few wild exchanges in the opening round. The middleweights were throwing heavy leather with Stewart tagging Holland with a hard shot that rattled the Texas-based fighter.
Holland was only dazed momentarily as he started firing back at Stewart with a barrage of rapid-fire punches of his own.
As the fight continued, Holland started targeting Stewart’s legs with a series of kicks but the British veteran continued to march forward. Late in the second round, Holland attempted to keep Stewart at range before pressuring him against the cage while unleashing a combination that included a couple of hard knees just before the horn sounded.
Stewart was still giving as good as he was getting while attempting to mix in some takedown attempts while keeping a grueling pace. After finally bringing the fight down to the floor, Stewart started to really hammer away at Holland with punches and elbows while doing his best to either finish the fight or secure the decision victory.
It was a razor close fight after 15 minutes but it was Holland who got the win and now he’s keeping himself ready for another potential short notice fight.
“If Demian Maia pulls out and you guys need somebody to fight the rat [Khamzat Chimaev], I got you guys,” Holland said while name dropping the highly touted Russian prospect, who is also fighting on Saturday night.