Kevin Holland and Alex Oliveira meet at UFC 272 as one of the featured undercard fights.
It’s Holland’s first fight in the welterweight division and he’ll be hoping to turn his form around against the classy underdog Oliveira.
Beware the Wounded Warrior
It has been a tough time in the UFC for Holland, who was once a highly-regarded middleweight, but a spate of recent losses killed his confidence.
However, a move down to welterweight could reinvigorate his career as he prepares for a tough first-up test against Alex Oliveira. Holland said he feels faster and better equipped for the challenge ahead.
“I do feel a little faster,” Holland told MMA Junkie. “It’s like a good vehicle. If you got a good car you should put good oil in there, good gas in there, and so on and so forth. I feel like I’m putting the good stuff in the car. I feel like the car will perform a lot better.”
Coming back from three consecutive losses is never easy, especially when fighting faster fighters in the welterweight division.
Unlike many UFC fighters, he’s giving his opponent plenty of respect.
“I think he’s an OG,” Holland said. “I think he’s a legend. I’m very, very happy to be fighting him. I was motivated, I knew I had to continue to work on the grappling cause that’s what everyone expects to be my downfall. But I also know he’s a good striker.”
Betting online markets have Holland at -350 to break his winless streak. It’s a short price given the circumstances, but if he brings the same form he showed in 2020 when winning three fights, he should go well.
Oliveira Seeking Bounce Back
Holland isn’t the only fighter looking to bounce back from three consecutive defeats. Oliveira is in the same boat, so there’s plenty on the line.
The 34-year-old lost to Niko Price via decision and to Randy Brown and Shavhat Rakhmonov via submission. However, he has a long list of quality wins on his record.
“Cowboy” has beaten Carlos Condit and Tim Means, and competed against the bigger names in the business. His 22-11-1 record doesn’t accurately reflect how consistent he has been throughout his lengthy career.
Many believe a loss could send Oliveira into retirement, including his opponent.
“I think he’s a little older and a few steps behind, so I’m looking to go out there and exploit that. It looked like he was ready to retire in his last fight with all the crying, so if he wants a warm welcome out,” Holland said.
The sportsbook isn’t giving him much of a chance at +250 odds. He is +550 to win via decision or to end the fight early, so most of the money has come for Holland.
If Oliveira can turn back time and find some heart, he’s good enough to knock out the heavier fighter.
Holland to Make Statement
We have always loved Oliveira, but his time in the UFC could come to an end.
Holland has cut weight to make the welterweight division, and although he might not be as quick as Oliveira, he has the power edge.
Bettors get -110 for Holland to win via knockout, TKO, DQ or submission, which are odds well worth taking.