Few made bigger impressions this weekend (or year) than Kevin Holland. At UFC 256 ‘Trail Blazer’ knocked out former Strikeforce Middleweight champion ‘Jacare’ Souza in a fashion never before seen inside the UFC Octagon.
After knocking Souza out with punches as he transitioned from the ground to his feet, Holland sealed his fifth win of the year. The American’s perfect in-cage 2020 featured TKO wins over Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley and Charlie Ontiveros. His other win this year was a split decision over Darren Stewart.
In his post-fight comments Holland called out another man who has had a successful 2020, Khamzat Chimaev.
Chimaev debuted for the UFC on Fight Island in July. There he finished John Phillips with a d’arce. He followed that up with a TKO over Rhys Mckee and a KO of Gerald Meerschaert.
The three finishes in quick succession advanced Chimaev’s record to 9-0 and saw UFC luminaries mentioning him as a future champion. Chimaev was then booked opposite top ranked welterweight Leon Edwards for December 19th. Edwards has since been pulled from the card after suffering from COVID-19.
When calling out Chimaev, Holland also questioned the hype around the undefeated Chechen-Swedish fighter.
“He doesn’t have a reputation for fighting all the time, that’s just what all the casuals think, that he fights all the time,” Holland said (ht MMA Junkie). “He fought three times this year, two times against bums and then another time against Gerald Meerschaert. Gerald Meerschaert’s not a bum, but he was coming off a knockout. He hasn’t beaten anybody in the UFC with a win but, at the same time, he’s a good ticket for the UFC, so let me stop talking about somebody that can help us make money, right?”
Meerschaert has six wins in the UFC. The most recent was a submission over Deron Winn at UFC 248.
Holland ended 2019 with just the second loss of his UFC career, a submission defeat to Brendan Allen. His other two fights that year were wins over Alessio di Chirico and Meerschart. Holland joined the UFC in 2018 off the back of the Contender Series. In his first year in the promotion he lost a decision to Thiago Santos and then submitted John Phillips.