Kevin Holland was ‘officially retired’ unless ‘something super-duper magical pops up’ in the future.
It appears as though that ‘super-duper magical’ something has popped up, as the ‘Trailblazer’ returns to the Octagon against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson at UFC Orlando on Dec. 3 at Amway Center. The UFC announced the fight, which serves as the headliner, on Wednesday.
“Never left boss,” wrote Holland on Instagram in response to the fight.
Following his first-round loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 this past September, Holland announced his retirement from the sport. It was a surprising announcement from Holland, who was teasing a fight at the end of the year against ‘a striker’ like Thompson or Daniel Rodriguez (his original opponent at UFC 279) in his post-fight comments.
Fast forward to now, and the 29-year-old has got his wish granted by the promotion. Prior to his loss to Chimaev, Holland was 2-0 at welterweight in his return to the division after an extended run at middleweight. He earned ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded finishes of Alex Oliveira and Tim Means at UFC 272 and UFC Austin, respectively.
Thompson has not fought since suffering a unanimous decision loss to Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 45 this past December. That was his second consecutive loss, as the 39-year-old also fell short against Gilbert Burns.
Here is the line-up for UFC Orlando:
- Kevin Holland vs. Stephen Thompson
- Derek Brunson vs. Jack Hermansson
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. Bryan Barberena
- Angela Hill vs. Emily Ducote
- Scott Holtzman vs. Clay Guida
- Tracy Cortez vs. Amanda Ribas
- Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus
- Michael Johnson vs. Marc Diakiese
- Matt Schnell vs. Matheus Nicolau
- Darren Elkins vs. Jonathan Pearce
- Marcelo Rojo vs. Francis Marshall
- Natan Levy vs. Genaro Valdez
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for updates to event as they become available in the coming weeks.