Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland is making a change as he heads into his fight against Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira at UFC 272 on Saturday. For the first time since 2016, Holland is fighting at welterweight, and he’s been focusing on slimming down. Based on this twitter post, it looks like the weight cut is a success.
Holland is hoping to right the ship after a string of bad luck in the octagon in 2021. He fought three times last year, including two fights in March and April that were only three weeks apart. He lost both of those by unanimous decision to Derek Brunson and then to Marvin Vettori. His last UFC fight was in October against Kyle Daukaus and that was ruled a no-contest after an accidental clash of heads.
It’s a new year, and in many ways Holland is a new fighter. Not only is he dropping down a weight class, but he’s also been focused on improving his grappling and wrestling skills. Holland is one of the best pure strikers in the promotion, but his ground game has been a weakness that his opponents have exploited.
Over the past few months he’s been putting in the mat time and competing in Fury Pro Grappling events. Ahead of one of those competitions in December, Holland told MILLIONS, “parts of the ground game are obviously an area that people want to see growth from me. I am starting to enjoy wrestling and blending that with my game.”
Oliveira is Brazilian, so you know he will likely be looking to test Holland’s wrestling and jiu-jitsu, but Holland appears to be ready, posting this message to Twitter at the beginning of fight week.
Holland is referring to Oliveira’s “Cowboy” nickname, and it could be a good matchup for Holland in the welterweight division. If they stand and bang, Holland will probably have the edge, because he was a fast, crisp striker at middleweight, so there’s a good chance he’ll be even sharper at welterweight.
Regardless of where the fight goes, Holland is sure to put on a show for the fans, and talk some trash while doing it. You can support Holland as he looks to climb the welterweight rankings by buying his merchandise. You can also follow his fight journey by regularly checking out the MILLIONS blog.