Preview and prediction for UFC Vegas 23: Marvin Vettori vs. Kevin Holland.
Marvin Vettori will have a shot to continue to prove his worth as a middleweight contender, while Kevin Holland looks for a big rebound on short notice as the two collide in the UFC Vegas 23 main event.
Vettori was originally scheduled to tale on Darren Till in an all-European clash, but Till pulled out of the bout on March 30, citing a broken collarbone.
Vettori comes in riding a four-fight win streak, scoring decision wins over Cezar Ferreira and Andrew Sanchez before a first-round submission in a grudge match with Karl Roberson. Vettori then scored his biggest win yet by scoring a unanimous decision over Jack Hermansson in December.
Holland earned FanSided MMA’s 2020 Fighter of the Year honors by having an impressive 2020 where he tied the UFC record for most wins in a calendar year, going 5-for-5. He scored TKOs of Anthony Hernandez and Joaquin Buckley, a decision over Darren Stewart, an injury-due-to-slam win over Charlie Ontiveros and a devastating knockout of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Holland, however, was highly unsuccessful a couple of weeks ago against Derek Brunson, having no answer to Brunson’s grappling (in spite of becoming the first man to take Brunson down) and doing more talking than fighting.
Who will win at UFC Vegas 23: Marvin Vettori or Kevin Holland?
Holland will come into this bout with a three-inch height edge and a huge seven-inch reach advantage.
Looking at the FightMetrics, Vettori has a slightly better output of significant strikes landed, but Holland is the more accurate striker by the numbers. Vettori, similarly, has absorbed more shots but has a better defensive percentage.
As for their grappling, both men average just over a takedown per 15 minutes, but Vettori’s average is just barely bigger — with both men holding a 45 percent takedown accuracy. It’s worth noting though that Vettori has a 78 percent takedown defense, compared to Holland’s 51 percent.
It might seem crazy for Holland to get this kind of fight after the one-sided loss he took against Brunson. And yet, once again, this seems like a situation in which Holland has a lot to gain and his opponent, Vettori, has a lot to lose. But if Brunson was able to handle Holland, a younger, more on-the-rise fighter like Vettori should be able to as well.
Holland has some creative and hard-hitting striking, but Vettori isn’t going to be afraid to bring the pressure as well. And Holland is going to need to bring an A game for the ground, as Vettori will be even more dangerous with his top control and pressure, and his ability to lock in a submission at any point.
Props to Holland for stepping in for this card, but this seems to be an even more difficult fight than Brunson.
Prediction: Vettori via unanimous decision
UFC Vegas 23 takes place on Saturday, April 10, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided, who is on-site, for all your live news and highlights.