It seems that Kevin Holland will be able to lift welterweight.
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 hit Oliveira with a hard punch. From there, it was an intense series of elbows and punches that ended in 38 seconds. While Holland had fought at welterweight earlier in his career, this was definitely the best he’s looked at 170 pounds.
“‘Cowboy’ really came from scrap,” Holland stated about Oliveira. “I started off a little flat, I guess I was just getting used to being in the weight class.
” I’m not sure who I want to be next. I just took out one ‘Cowboy,’ I’d hate to call out another. It’s whatever the world wants.”
Holland’s weight loss didn’t slow him down, but he started to engage Oliveira in exchanges that allowed Oliveira to counter strike with some force. Holland responded with a straight right-hand down the middle, which temporarily wobbled Oliveira. But “Cowboy”, who was determined to equalize the score, unleashed an endless stream of punches as he tried to get back at Oliveira.
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.
Holland was told by his coaches that he had likely lost the first round. This seemed to have lit a spark under Holland, who came out firing 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.
Holland hinted that there might be a showdown against Donald Cerrone at Welterweight. However, it seems Holland is ready to dominate his new division, now that he has settled at 170 lbs.