After a week off, the UFC is back and it’s a familiar face headlining once again. Kevin Holland returns as yet another short-notice replacement to take on the “Italian Dream” Marvin Vettori, who has been taking repeated shots at an old foe, UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.
The UFC odds have Vettori as a sizable favorite here at -320 with the comeback on Holland at +240. The two headline a fight card filled with prospects ready to take that next step to UFC superstardom.
- Date: Saturday, Apr. 10, 3 p.m.
- Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV, USA
- Watch on: ABC, ESPN+
Vettori Exploits Holland’s Wrestling Allergy
Weight Class: Middleweight (185)
Rounds: Five (Main Event)
Odds: Kevin Holland +240, Marvin Vettori -320
Vettori (16-4-1) has been doing as much as he can to make noise in the division. He wants his rematch with Adesanya, whom he came to one decision away from beating. Outside of Kelvin Gastelum, Vettori gave the champ his hardest fight in the division.
But despite the UFC betting odds here, Holland (21-6-0) is a dangerous last-minute opponent. While Darren Till, Vettori’s original opponent, is a more capable striker, Holland can be unpredictable and can end fights wherever the fight goes.
Holland has finished four of his last five UFC victories via a variety of ways: punches, knees, and a slam. He has a kickboxing background and a massive 81” reach. He’ll have a seven-inch advantage over Vettori.
However, Derek Brunson reemphasized why Holland is still raw in his career: his lack of wrestling defense. Brunson took Holland down at will and the “Trailblazer” seemingly did little to get back up. Vettori happens to land 1.33 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 45% clip.
While Vettori’s main strength is his striking, he can exploit Holland’s wrestling weakness. Vettori had success against a similarly lanky fighter in Adesanya who he took down twice and controlled for over three minutes.
Holland has surrendered 11 takedowns in his last four fights alone. The line is a bit steep for Vettori, but this is “Chalk or Pass”. He should abuse the wrestling against Holland, lay a beating on him, and continue calling out Adesanya.
Super Sodiq Beats Allen in Battle of Bluechip Prospects
Weight Class: Featherweight (145)
Odds: Arnold Allen +110, Sodiq Yusuff -140
Yusuff (11-1-0) and Allen (16-1-0) meet in a tilt between the division’s two prospect-turned-contenders. Despite having one loss a piece, they may as well be undefeated as either fighter has looked dominant in their UFC tenures.
The Nigerian, Yusuff, has been a ferocious striker averaging a whopping 6.10 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM) at a 49% rate and he’s done that against solid competition. He blitzed longtime veteran Andre Fili to the tune of 73 significant strikes and landed 111 in his Contender’s Series fight.
Allen’s most notable UFC victory came when he lit up former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez with 102 significant strikes. But he has faced questionable opposition and has looked vulnerable in several spots.
Both of these fighters are highly touted but it’s Yusuff who will assert himself as the true contender. Allen may have a grappling edge, but Yusuff showed he can handle himself here.
Yusuff will stuff Allen’s takedowns and light him up on the feet. I see him controlling most of this fight, landing the harder shots, and ultimately beating up Allen for a clear-cut decision.
Ansaroff Lights Up Dern
Weight Class: Women’s Strawweight (115)
Odds: Nina Ansaroff -130, Mackenzie Dern Ev
After taking two years off for mom duties, Ansaroff (10-6-0) returns to fight a fellow mom in Dern (10-1-0). Both women are contenders and likely just one big win away from challenging for a title. That should be Ansaroff, who has seen her career take off since training with her wife, the GOAT Amanda Nunes.
Ansaroff began as a middling fighter but has since won four of her last five. She’s managed to blend her potent striking with better wrestling defense. Sure, she gets taken down but she can get back up.
Dern is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prodigy but she hasn’t firmly established herself as a takedown threat. Her takedown accuracy is just 5% and she averages just 0.28 takedowns per 15 minutes.
I expect Ansaroff to stuff whatever takedowns Dern will present and light her up on their feet. The betting line on Ansaroff is modest since she’s coming back from a two-year layoff, but she should win this fight unquestionably.