Ahead of his upcoming Octagon return at UFC Vegas 38 this weekend, Kevin ‘Trail Blazer’ Holland has claimed that he remains open to the possibility of matching with the undefeated, Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev in a welterweight division move — explaining how the vast majority of onlookers believe he would lose to the uber-prospect.
Hoping to snap a two-fight losing skid against Kyle Daukaus this weekend in a co-headlining slot, Holland headlined UFC on ABC 2 in April, suffering a one-sided unanimous decision loss to recent middleweight title challenger, Kevin Holland.
In March, the Riverside native met with the surging, Derek Brunson in his first main event under the promotion’s banner, once more dropping a one-sided unanimous judging loss.
Scrutinized for his defensive wrestling albeit, or lack thereof, Holland dropped 11 separate takedowns against Vettori, after finding himself on the canvas six times opposite the aforenoted North Carolina veteran, Brunson.
In the time since, Holland has spent limited time with former two-weight champion, Daniel Cormier in a bid to improve his overall wrestling ability — but has majorly honed his craft alongside former welterweight titleholder, four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, Johny Hendricks.
Tasked with snapping his slide against submission artist, Daukaus this weekend, Holland takes a step back from ranked competition. However, the submission proficiency of the Philadelphia native could be cause for concern, given the fact the former has lodged eight submission stoppage victories, including five D’Arce choke wins and a further three rear-naked chokes.
Speaking with assembled media ahead of his UFC Vegas 38 appearance, Holland still remains open to the possibility of a welterweight division return, especially if the aforenoted 9-0, Chimaev is offered.
“Yeah, 170, (the) Khamzat (Chimaev) fight — everybody thinks I’ll lose to him so,” Holland said. “My coaches can throw some money on me and we can make some money on the back end.“
Holland explained that while he is not ruling out a prolonged and continued stay at the middleweight limit, he is keen to attempt a test cut to the welterweight limit in the not too distant future.
“You know what? I’m not saying I don’t wanna fight at 185 anymore, but I would really, really like to do that test cut to 170lbs,” Holland explained. “I lifted weights like no other getting ready for this fight. Do I feel stronger? I feel way stronger. Did I put on any weight? F*ck no, you know. So I have to talk to a nutritionist and figure out, you know — either ‘A’ what I have to do to get up to about 203 where I feel real comfortable at. … Or I gotta figure out a way to keep my weight at what it is now, which is 195lbs and show up at fight week at about 190lbs, drop a couple pounds throughout the week and then hit 170, so I just have to figure it out, you know.“
Prior to his loss to Brunson in March, Holland enjoyed a stunning five-fight winning run, setting a record for most in a calendar year, with his most recent victory coming against the now-retired decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, Jacare Souza on short notice at UFC 256 in December — where he landed a peculiar knockout from the bottom.
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