Kevin Holland’s five-fight win streak came to an end on Saturday after he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Derek Brunson in the UFC Vegas 22 main event. After pulling off yet another upset against a surging middleweight in Kevin Holland in Saturday’s headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Brunson (22-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC) now finds himself on a four-fight winning streak and primed for a top-ranked matchup.
Over five rounds, Brunson consistently outwrestled Holland and kept the outspoken middleweight on his back where he struggled to get back to his feet much less generate much offense. Brunson was methodical with his grappling to ensure he always controlled Holland, which led to a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.
The final tally was 49-45, 49-46, and 49-46 with Holland wrapping up his fourth consecutive win in a row.
“I wanted to knock him out,” Brunson admitted after having his hand raised. “Everyone can’t be pretty. Dana White, Mick Maynard, Sean Shelby, I’ve been putting in mad work in this division for so long. I wasn’t too excited about this matchup. I wanted a top-five [opponent].
“They probably didn’t like my performance too much so give me a top-five and let’s see what happens.”
Derek Brunson reveals why he called out Paulo Costa
Brunson felt he deserved as much after beating Edmen Shahbazyan as an underdog in his previous outing but is leaving no doubts about his desires. He said immediately after the win in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder that he wanted Costa (14-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) next, and he elaborated why at the post-fight news conference.
“I can’t say I was too excited about this fight (with Holland),” Brunson told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “I was asking for guys like Costa. I was cool with a Robert Whittaker rematch. I want one of these top guys that are going to elevate me. So this was a fight where I had to hold serve. I want a guy that will elevate me that I can get excited for and feel like this is the fight for me.”
“I got a little cut (on my face),” Brunson said.” I’m going to take some time and let it heal, but I want to get back in there in a couple of months. Get a fight going. So that’s kind of where I’m at.”
Costa was originally scheduled to fight Robert Whittaker in the UFC Fight Night headliner on April 17. However, he recently withdrew from the bout due to illness and was replaced by Kelvin Gastelum.
That leaves the Brazilian, who is coming off a title-fight loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 in September, without an obvious next opponent. Brunson wants to be that guy, and he said he hopes for it to happen soon.
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