Kevin Holland will be tested in his first ever UFC main event on Saturday night, fighting fellow middleweight Derek Brunson at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The fight sits atop a 10-bout “Fight Night” card.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage.
Preliminary Card (7:30PM EDT / 4:30PM EDT) (ESPN 2 / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Bout 10: Derek Brunson (21-7) vs. Kevin Holland (21-5) (Middleweight)
Brunson Controls Holland, Stops His Momentum From 2020
Derek Brunson brought Kevin Holland’s five-fight momentum to a grinding halt on Saturday night, controlling him to a unanimous decision win in a five-round main event fight (49-45, 49-46 & 49-46).
Most of the rounds saw Holland get taken down by Brunson then hit with ground and pound.
The fight went to the ground early after Holland seemingly slipped and fell on his back. Brunson took top position on the ground after, where he scored with strikes for the majority of the opening round.
Holland’s best moment was early in the second round, where Brunson got rocked by punches on the feet. However, Brunson was able to recover and eventually land a takedown to stop his momentum. Brunson looked for an arm triangle choke on the ground, although Holland was eventually able to escape the choke and return to his feet.
Brunson was quick to land a takedown in the third round. He then held full guard for the entire round, throwing a steady pace of strikes in that time. The fourth round was very much the same, as Brunson kept Holland down for most of the time.
In a wild change compared to the rounds before, Holland scored a takedown against Brunson in the clinch. He was able to land shots before Brunson got to his feet in the fourth minute of the fight. Brunson closed out the fight with one last takedown.
The bout was Holland’s first UFC main event. He was given the fight after a strong 2020, where he earned five consecutive victories. His biggest win in the run was in December, where he defeated UFC veteran Jacare Souza within a round.
Holland was vocal throughout the fight, talking to Brunson and bragging even after realizing he was behind in the fight.
Brunson earned his fourth consecutive win on Saturday. Similar to Saturday night, Brunson shut down a prospect in Edmen Shahbazyan in his previous appearance in the cage.
Brunson asked for a top-five fighter afterwards, calling out former title challenger Paulo Costa.
Bout 9: Max Griffin (16-8) vs. Song Kenan (16-5) (Welterweight)
Griffin Scores Two-Punch Combo To Stop Song Early
Max Griffin knocked Song Kenan out with a two-punch combination to finish him in the opening minute of their fight. Griffin stormed forward in the third minute with punches that dropped Song immediately, causing the fight to finish.
Griffin had seemingly stung Song with a right cross moments before landing the fight-ending punch combination.
Griffin now has two consecutive UFC wins. His previous fight ended in a gruesome fashion, as an elbow from him caused an ear injury to Ramiz Brahimaj, ending their fight in the second round.
Song had a two-fight win streak prior to losing on Saturday night.
Bout 8: Cheyanne Buys (5-1) vs. Montserrat Conejo (9-1) (Strawweight)
Conejo Uses Wrestling To Control Buys Through Three Rounds
Montserrat Conejo used wrestling to dominate Cheyanne Buys towards a unanimous decision win on Saturday night (29-28, 29-28 & 29-27).
Conejo controlled Buys for most of the opening round, scoring a takedown and holding her head while in a side control position.
The second round was a closer one on the ground, as both fighters fought for control with positions. Conejo was able to get another takedown halfway through the final round of the fight.
Conejo took the fight on short notice, taking the spot of Kay Hansen.
Conejo’s previous fight was on an Invicta FC card, where she submitted Janaisa Morandin within a round.
Buys was making her UFC debut. She earned a UFC contract in 2020 by defeating Hilarie Rose via decision.
Bout 7: Adrian Yanez (12-3) vs. Gustavo Lopez (12-5) (Bantamweight)
Yanez Finishes Strong Striking Performance With Third-Round Walk-Off KO Against Lopez
A strong striking performance from Adrian Yanez was finished quickly in the third round, as he dropped Gustavo Lopez with a counter-right hook that quickly stopped their fight.
Yanez had success in the previous rounds as well, often rocking Lopez with strikes. While he would hurt Lopez throughout the bout, he showed composure by not rushing to finish the fight at any point.
Yanez now has two wins in the UFC. He had an impressive debut performance in October, stopping Victor Rodriguez in the first round with a head kick.
After his win, Yanez asked for a fight at UFC 262, which is scheduled to take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, USA.
“Help me perform in front of my home town,” said Yanez in his post-fight interview.
Yanez also called out Nate Maness after the fight.
Lopez was returning after earning his first UFC win, which came via submission against Anthony Birchak last year.
Bout 6: Tai Tuivasa (11-3) vs. Harry Hunsucker (7-3) (Heavyweight)
Tuivasa Stops Short Notice Opponent Hunsucker Within A Minute
Tai Tuivasa won in under a minute to start the main card, catching Harry Hunsucker with punches to end their heavyweight bout.
Tuivasa wobbled Hunsucker with a right hook early in the fight. He went to the ground afterwards, where he landed a series of punches that made the referee step in.
Hunsucker took the fight on short notice to replace Don’Tale Mayes, who withdrew from the bout earlier in the week. The fight was Hunsucker’s UFC debut.
Hunsucker was seen on a “Dana White’s Contender Series” episode before, losing a bout to Jared Vanderaa on the show. He bounced back since then, earning a stoppage win on the regional scene this year.
Tuivasa is now building up a win streak after falling into a three-fight skid last year. His last fight was the first in the current win streak, where he defeated veteran heavyweight Stefan Struve.
Bout 5: Marion Reneau (9-6-1) vs. Macy Chiasson (6-1) (Bantamweight)
Chiasson Takes Scorecard Victory Over Reneau In Return
Macy Chiasson earned her second consecutive UFC win on the prelims, defeating Marion Reneau via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Chiasson had two strong rounds in the fight that lead her to the win.
Chiasson was able to hurt Reneau on the feet with strikes throughout the second round. Reneau somewhat recovered late in the frame, scoring a takedown that kept Chiasson down for the final minute.
Chiasson put down some control time in the final round, taking Reneau down.
“I really just wanted to show composure,” said Chiasson about her fight afterwards.
Reneau has now lost her last four fights in the UFC.
The fight was Chiasson’s first in over a year. Her last fight was a decision win against Shanna Young in early 2020.
The bantamweight fight was first scheduled to happen in February, although it was later moved ahead due to COVID-19 protocol.
Bout 4: Grant Dawson (16-1) vs. Leonardo Santos (18-3-1) (Lightweight)
Dawson Scores Buzzer-Beater Stoppage Win Against Santos
Grant Dawson scored a last-minute win on the prelims, landing hammerfist punches that knocked Leonardo Santos out in the final seconds of their lightweight bout.
Dawson landed the strikes after controlling the fight on the ground for most of the third round. One of the shots clearly knocked Santos out, causing the referee to end the bout.
Santos was slow to get up afterwards, remaining on the stool while the official result for the fight was read.
The fight was Santos’ first UFC loss since joining the promotion in 2013. Before Saturday, he was undefeated in the promotion with seven wins and one draw.
Santos was putting up a solid fight in the two previous rounds, landing his own takedowns and controlling Dawson.
Dawson earned his fifth consecutive UFC victory with the win. His previous fight was in July, where he defeated Nad Narimani on scorecards.
Bout 3: Trevin Giles (13-2) vs. Roman Dolidze (8-0) (Middleweight)
Giles Hands Dolidze First Pro Loss In Decision Performance
Trevin Giles picked up a win on the prelims, handing Roman Dolidze his first pro loss in a unanimous decision performance (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). The close bout saw Giles overcome submission attempts and land strikes.
Giles was able to land the better strikes throughout, connecting on the feet in all of the rounds. Dolidze’s best moments were on the ground, where he searched for submissions that Giles were able to escape or endure.
Giles is now on a three-fight win streak when including 2020 victories against James Krause and Bevon Lewis.
Bout 2: Montel Jackson (9-2) vs. Jesse Strader (5-1) (Bantamweight)
Jackson Earns Quick Win Over UFC Newcomer Strader
Montel Jackson had a fast win on the prelims, putting Jesse Strader away in the second minute with strikes. After dropping Strader twice with strikes, Jackson eventually finished the fight with ground and pound.
The first knockdown came earlier in the second minute, where Jackson scored with a right hook while leaving a clinch.
Jackson bounced back from losing a decision to Brett Johns last year. Before the loss, Jackson had three wins in the UFC.
Strader was making his UFC debut after a four-fight run in regional promotion Combate Americas.
Bout 1: JP Buys (9-2) vs. Bruno Silva (10-5-2) (Flyweight)
Silva Drops Buys Twice With Punches In The Second Round For First UFC Win
Bruno Silva earned his first UFC win to open the main card, putting together punches that stopped promotional newcomer JP Buys in the second round.
Silva dropped Buys halfway through the second round with a right hook. He later floored him shortly after with another right hand that made the referee end the fight.
Silva had a strong first round as well, landing takedowns throughout the round that kept Buys on his back. Silva finished the round by landing a spinning back elbow that seemingly rocked Buys.
The fight was Silva’s first UFC win after four appearances. His previous bouts resulted in two losses and a no contest.
Silva asked for a new UFC contract afterwards.
“I belong to this place,” said Silva in his post-fight interview.
Buys was making his UFC debut after winning last year on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
COVID-19 Protocol Forces Gillespie vs. Riddell Out of the Lineup
Saturday night’s UFC “Fight Night” card lost a bout in the afternoon, as COVID-19 protocol forced the promotion to remove a fight between Gregor Gillespie and Brad Riddell from the card.
The fight was scheduled to take place in the co-main event. It will now be replaced by Max Griffin and Song Kenan, who have been bumped up to the slot.