Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
It appears welterweight is going to be good for Kevin Holland.
In his first fight in a new division at UFC 272, the former 185-pound contender engaged in a wild battle with Alex Oliveira in the opening round only to come out and make short work of the Brazilian as soon as the second round started.
Holland connected with a stiff punch that put Oliveira on the ground and from there it was a blistering series of punches and elbows that led to the stoppage at just 38 seconds in the second round. While Holland had fought at welterweight earlier in his career, this was definitely the best he’s looked at 170 pounds.
“’Cowboy’ really came to scrap,” Holland said about Oliveira. “I started off a little flat, I guess I was just getting used to being in the weight class.
“Honestly, I don’t know who exactly I want next. I just took out one ‘Cowboy,’ I’d hate to call out another. It’s whatever the world wants.”
The move down in weight didn’t seem to slow Holland down but he was also jumping into exchanges with Oliveira, which allowed the Brazilian to throw some hard counter strikes. Holland fired back with a straight right hand down the middle that wobbled Oliveira momentarily but “Cowboy” refused to go away as he unleashed a barrage of punches in succession as he sought to even the score.
As he looked to inflict more damage, Holland started really to dig into a series of calf-kicks but Oliveira ended the opening round with a late submission attempt just as time expired.
Back in his corner, Holland’s coaches told him that he likely lost the first round, which seemingly lit a fire under him as he came out guns blazing in the second.
Holland came out and immediately threw a punch down the middle that caught Oliveira off guard and put him down on the ground. As soon as Oliveira hit the canvas, Holland was all over him with ground and pound until the referee had no choice but to stop the fight.
Afterwards, Holland obviously hinted at a potential showdown with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who has fought at welterweight in the past but more than anything it appears he’s ready to make waves in his new division now that he’s settled at 170 pounds.