3 reasons to watch UFC Vegas 22: Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland

UFC Vegas 22: Derek Brunson vs. Kevin Holland is right around the corner, so here are just three of the reasons why you should tune in.

Headlining UFC Vegas 22 this Saturday will be a middleweight bout between No. 7 Derek Brunson and No. 10 Kevin Holland.

Since losing to middleweight champ Israel Adesanya in 2018, Brunson has looked reenergized and rattled off three-straight wins inside the Octagon, defeating Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan. Brunson halted the Shahbazyan hype train in its tracks back at UFC Vegas 5 when he stopped the 23-year-old in round three via technical knockout. It looks as if the UFC will continue to give Brunson dangerous contenders to see if they compete in the upper echelon at 185 pounds.

Across the Octagon from Brunson will stand a Kung Fu and Brazilian jiu-Jiu-Jitsu black belt in Holland. Holland went 5-0 in the year 2020 and is becoming the type of fighter whose fights you just can’t miss. Holland knocked out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in just under two minutes at UFC 256 to get his fifth win, tying the UFC record for most wins in a calendar year. Although he wasn’t signed until the second half of 2018, Holland has already fought ten times and has compiled an 8-2 record, collecting three performance bonuses along the way.

Even with this exciting main event matchup, there are still other reasons to tune into UFC Vegas 22.

These are three reasons to watch UFC Vegas 22

The return of Gregor Gillespie

Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie is slated to make his Octagon return in the co-main event this Saturday at UFC Vegas 22. The former NCAA Division I wrestling national champion has not competed since UFC 244 in Nov. 2019, the night he was brutally knocked out by Kevin Lee via head kick. Gillespie went unconscious and was handed his first-ever loss as a professional. Currently ranked No. 15 in the division, Gillespie can make a run at title contention should he get off to a good start here against his opponent. And although Gillespie needs a victory here, don’t expect a boring, drawn-out 15 minute fight. The man has six wins in the UFC, with five coming via stoppage, and three fight night bonuses to go along with them.

However, Gillespie faces a stiff test in his UFC return in Brad Riddell. The 9-1 lightweight trains out of City Kickboxing alongside the likes of middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker, and has even competed as a professional kickboxer in Glory and ONE Championship. Riddell has gone a solid 3-0 thus far in the promotion, most recently defeating Alex da silva Coelho via unanimous decision at UFC 253. Riddell also holds a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Andre Galvao.

If Gillespie can get back to winning ways in this co-main event slot, a future matchup against a fellow top-15 fighter is all but guaranteed.

Can Kevin Holland make it six wins in a row?

Holland, FanSided MMA’s 2020 fighter of the year, makes his much anticipated return to the cage at UFC Vegas 22. As previously mentioned, a Holland fight is must-see TV at this point, especially given his fighting style and ability to talk whether he’s taking damage or giving it. He has the ability to succeed no matter where the fight takes place, as he is a black belt in both Kung Fu and Brazilian jiu-Jiu-Jitsu, the latter under head coach Travis Lutter. Of his eight UFC victories, four have come by knockout, one via submission, and the remainder by decision. Holland will enter the bout as a -175 betting favorite, with Brunson coming back at +145. This bout will certainly be Holland’s toughest test to date, excluding his short-notice debut vs. Thiago Santos.

If Holland can get past a longtime veteran like Brunson, especially via stoppage, it opens up a host of fresh new matchups for the top-5 at middleweight. Catch the main event on ESPN to see Brunson and Holland get after it.

3. UFC debut for a married couple

While not the first married couple to be signed by the promotion, and probably not the last, both JP and Cheyanne Buys cut their teeth on the regional circuit before being given opportunities to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020.

Cheyanne (5-1) has an extensive amateur career dating back to 2017, where she competed against UFC vet Gillian Robertson and former LFA strawweight champion Vanessa Demopoulos. She got her shot on the Contender Series just a few months before her husband JP’s second attempt, where she grabbed a unanimous decision over Hilarie Rose and was subsequently signed by UFC president Dana White. JP (9-2) had previously fought on the Contender Series in season one, dropping a three-round decision to Joby Sanchez. However, his second appearance saw him submit opponent Jacob Silva in the first round en route to a coveted UFC contract.

Now both competing at UFC Vegas 22 this Saturday, they will look to become the first married couple to win on the same card. Montana and Mark De La Rosa were the first married couple to fight on the same card at UFC Rio Rancho, but only Montana got her hand raised that night while husband Mark did not.

JP will take on Brazil’s Bruno Silva, who is still in search of his first UFC win after his first three bouts ended with two losses and one no-contest. Cheyanne was originally scheduled to face Kay Hansen, but an injury forced her out of the bout and has been replaced by Invicta FC vet Montserrat Ruiz.

Both husband and wife are favorites to win their respective bouts, with JP a modest favorite at -160, while wife Cheyanne is a big favorite at -365.

UFC Vegas 22 takes place on Saturday, March 20, 2021, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Wed, 17 Mar 2021 23:13:46 +0000

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