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Kevin Holland: I’m not going to change the fighter I am and try and become a wrestler just because all these guys want to wrestle

UFC Fight Night: Vettori v Holland Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Kevin Holland knows there’s work to be done in the wrestling room after back-to-back losses where he spent the majority of the fight on his back but he’s also not going to completely alter the way he approaches his fights.

After falling to Derek Brunson in a grappling heavy performance just a few weeks ago, Holland accepted a short notice main event opportunity against Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 23 but the result was almost exactly the same.

Despite his best efforts to out strike Vettori on the feet, Holland ended up being taken down 11 times during the fight, which was a new record for the middleweight division. While Holland definitely plans on addressing some of the shortcomings with his wrestling, he’s not trying to re-invent the wheel when it comes to his strategy moving forward.

“Can’t say too much changes,” Holland said about his training when speaking during the UFC Vegas 23 post fight show. “We’ll see what it is. I honestly don’t know. Go spend some time with D.C. (Daniel Cormier) for sure, work on some of those wrestling things. Go work on wrestling of course. Learn how to stop some of these takedowns. Other than that, same old same.

“I’m not going to change the fighter I am and try and become a wrestler just because all these guys want to wrestle. It’s like, I like to strike, I like to bang. I just [need] to do a better job of keeping the fight up on its feet and deliver some more knockouts to the people and that way they’ll be back on the bandwagon sooner or later.”

Admittedly, Holland didn’t really have much time to address the errors in his previous loss because he made such a quick turnaround to accept the fight against Vettori on Saturday.

Brunson put together a winning blueprint to beat Holland after grounding the outspoken middleweight numerous times over five rounds in their clash back in March.

Vettori then did much the same as he consistently worked his way inside and constantly brought Holland back down to the mat with him. While Holland was able to scramble free more often against Vettori than he did with Brunson, he still ended up on his back again and again over five rounds.

“Not really got time at the gym or anything,” Holland said about improving between fights. “I just went out there and gave you guys a little bit more, just tried to give it to you guys, what you guys wanted. At the end of the day, I believe in every fighter getting his check and I believe in everybody going out there and getting a chance to perform. So when I seen Marvin didn’t have an opponent, it’s like the smart thing to do would have been staying in that shower, not answering the phone call but I never said I was smart. But courageous and a company man is something that I am so if people want to ridicule that, they can ridicule that but at the end of the day when they needed somebody to step in.

“I fought seven times since the pandemic [started]. I’m going to go spend a couple of days with the kid and then we’ll get back to it. It’s nothing to a sniper. Sometimes we miss the shot, sometimes we land the shot. I’m not the only one who lost tonight but I’m the only one who did five rounds and didn’t get finished by either one against elite level guys each time.”

Judging by his reaction, Holland isn’t getting too mired in the doldrums of defeat while openly acknowledging what went wrong for the second consecutive fight in a row.

“Like D.C. said, gave up a lot of takedowns in the past two fights,” Holland said. “It sucks not to be in the winner’s circle but at the end of the day, I’ve got a plane flight home and I’m going to spend a lot of dollars at the ladies’ clubs. Not that bad.”

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