Derek Brunson Outwrestles Kevin Holland For Five Rounds At UFC On ESPN 21

Derek Brunson completely dominated the mouthy Kevin Holland in the wrestling department tonight at UFC On ESPN 21 for five rounds on his way to a clear decision victory.

Round One:

The middleweight main event is underway in Las Vegas.

Holland reaching out at Brunson and gets hit by a body kick. Front kick to the face from Holland. Holland slips to the mat and Brunson takes advantage as he moves in and hits him to put him right back down again.

Brunson goes into Holland’s full guard with lots of time to work in the opening round. Brunson starts to let some heavy ground and pound go and Holland has to cover up.

Another big blow from Brunson as he postures up in Holland’s guard. Right hook lands for him now. Elbows landing. Holland claps Brunson’s ears.

Holland talking to Brunson, but Brunson stays businesslike and lands an elbow. A couple of left hands for him now. Non-stop talking from Holland. Brunson lands a bunch. Now a heavy elbow.

Holland starts to chip away at Brunson with his heel to the leg. Brunson aggressively fires back and Holland manages to scramble to his feet, but the round is soon over.

Round Two:

Holland spent the entire minute inbetween rounds talking to Khabib Nurmagomedov who is alongside Dana White at cage-side, asking him for wrestling advice.

Holland lands a strike early in the second round. Brunson clinches up. Holland able to break free.

Powerful right hand for Holland. Another lands and Brunson is in trouble. Holland looking for the finish, but Brunson regains his composure and tries for a takedown. Holland keeps up for now, but Brunson remains clinched and then does work a nice takedown.

Brunson able to move quickly to full mount. Holland scrambles hard though and gets him back to half-guard.

Brunson looking to set up an arm-triangle choke, but Holland still has him caught in half-guard for now. Brunson starting to pass and slides through to side control where he can potentially finish this choke.

Holland still talking to him, but then goes quiet as he focuses on getting back out of this bad spot. To his credit he then does just that as he rolls out of it and gets back upright.

However, just seconds later Brunson easily takes him back down again and Holland starts yelling at Khabib to give him wrestling advice again. Brunson lands a few ground and pound blows to end the round.

Round Three:

Again Holland starts jawing to Khabib inbetween rounds, but then sits down and listens to his coaches, who are clearly concerned with the way the fight is unfolding so far.

Right hand for Brunson to start the third. Holland stays patient but then connects cleanly with a right hand. Unfortunately for him, Brunson eats that and then takes him down once again.

Holland trying to turn against the cage and then sets himself up for an armbar attempt, but Brunson escapes. Brunson takes his time as he settles into Holland’s full guard again.

Holland trying to land a few elbows from his back. A few punches from Brunson, but not much power in these any more.

Brunson looking tired, but Holland’s still not able to find a way back to his feet as he instead opts for a fully closed guard.

Light punches from Brunson and then a hard elbow. Brunson continues to do enough to keep the action on the floor until the bell.

Round Four:

Inside leg kick from Holland. Leg kick for Brunson, but gets caught by counter punches from Holland.

solid right hand for Holland, but then steps in and gives Brunson an opportunity to clinch. He does manages to just steer clear of him this time, but Brunson is soon back into the clinch again.

Holland willingly goes into a thai clinch, but doesn’t get anything from that and instead Brunson works for and gets another takedown.

Holland does manage to work quickly back to his feet, only to be brought back down again soon afterwards.

Brunson with a couple of heavy elbows. Holland slaps his ears. He tries to wall walk, but it doesn’t work out. More elbows from Brunson.

90 seconds of the round remaining and Brunson is happy to just stay heavy on top and land the occasional elbow.

Holland scrambles and gets to his feet, but with Brunson still clinching him up against the cage. Holland grins at the camera and slaps at Brunson’s ear again as the round runs to an end.

Round Five:

Holland attempts a front kick to the face and just misses. Leg kick from Brunson. Brunson marauds forward and lands a left hook.

Leg kick for Brunson and a punch in return from Holland. Holland loads up on hooks, but that just enables Brunson to move into clinch range.

Knee to the body from Holland. Holland with a trip takedown and lands it. “Let’s go!” Holland shouts and then follows up with, “no matter what – that’s a win!”

Brunson closes up his guard and hangs onto Holland, stifling his attempts to work towards some kind of finish.

Holland with big punches to the body and then postures up and slams Brunson down again. Ref telling Holland to get busy if he wants to keep it grounded.

Brunson able to kick Holland away and stands back up. Brunson immediately into the clinch and secures a takedown.

Final minute of the fight and Brunson is content to work carefully from his opponent’s full guard.

That being said, in the final 10 seconds Brunson stands back up. Strangely Holland doesn’t go at him all-guns-blazing. Instead, Brunson throws a head kick and Holland doesn’t make a clean connection on his final two strike attempts.


No question about the winner here, Brunson dominated the overly-laid-back and chatty Holland for five rounds on the mat and emerges with a unanimous decision victory (49-45, 49-46 x2).

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