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Kevin Holland ends dubious retirement, faces Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in UFC Orlando main event

MMA: SEP 09 UFC 279
Kevin Holland
Photo by Amy Kaplan/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kevin Holland isn’t going anywhere.

It would appear that reports of Holland’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated, as the UFC announced Wednesday that Holland (23-8, 1 NC) is booked to fight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-6-1) in the welterweight main event of UFC Orlando at Amway Center on Dec. 3.

This announcement comes not long after Holland seemingly doubled down on a retirement angle that he began pushing in late September. Speaking on his podcast, Holland said “I’m officially retired” unless “unless something super-duper magical pops up.” However, on a subsequent episode of his podcast, Holland revealed that he is fighting Thompson.

Watch that clip below:

Thompson currently owns the No. 11 spot in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, while Holland sits just outside the top 15.

With Holland officially back in the fold, UFC Orlando now has its headliner. “Trailblazer” is coming off of a first-round submission loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 in a 180-pound catchweight bout that was thrown together at the last second after Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds for the originally scheduled welterweight main event against Nate Diaz. After scoring notable wins over Jacare Souza, Joaquin Buckley, Anthony Hernandez, and Gerald Meerschaert at 185 pounds, Holland dropped down to welterweight this past March and went 2-0 at welterweight before seeing his win streak snapped by Chimaev.

Thompson competes for the first time this year after losing a lopsided unanimous decision to Belal Muhammad this past December. The two-time UFC welterweight title challenger has lost two straight fights and is just 2-4 in his past six outings.

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