Following UFC Vegas 65, the company was on sabbatical for the Thanksgiving weekend. But they are returning to action this weekend. The event is set to take place infront of the fans in the Amway Center in Orlando. It will feature two fan-favorite fighters in the main event, as Stephen Thompson will fight Kevin Holland in a 5-round bout.
Nicknamed ‘Wonderboy,’ Stephen Thompson is returning to action after spending almost a year outside the Octagon. He is coming off big losses against Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns. Especially, the loss to Belal was a devastating one as he was the favorite to win it. However, as he nears the end of an illustrious career, Thompson will look to recapture the magic once more.
View this post on Instagram
Kevin Holland, on the other hand, announced his retirement from the sport after his loss to Khamzat Chimaev. Chimaev did not even let Holland land a single punch before ending the bout via submission. But, as Dana White stated, the decision to retire was an emotional one. He is now back to resume his run at welterweight.
So who wins on December 3rd between two elite strikers at UFC Orlando? Let’s take a look at their recent record and stats to see who the match-up favors.
UFC Fight Night: Stephen Thompson vs Kevin Holland, stats
|Stats||Stephen Thompson||Kevin Holland|
|Height||1.83 m||1.91 m|
|Reach||190.5 cm||205.7 cm|
Can Wonderboy snap his losing streak against Holland?
Kevin Holland has not had the best of runs in recent times. In his last 6 fights, The Trailblazer has won only 2 fights, lost 3 and 1 fight ended in a no-contest. His losses have come against Derek Brunson, Marvin Vettori, and Khamzat Chimaev, while he beat Tim Means via submission and Alex Oliveira via TKO.
Holland entered the UFC as a middleweight after defeating Will Santiago Jr via unanimous decision at DWCS. However, Dana did not like his outspoken nature at first and decided not to sign him up for the UFC. However, Kevin got the call to fight Thiago Santos on short notice and accepted the challenge. It earned him props from the UFC President, who gave him the nickname, ‘Big Mouth.’
Thanks to an amazing 2020, Holland currently holds a UFC record of 10-5-1. As previously mentioned, striking is Kevin’s strong suit, and his stats indicate that as well. He has a relatively low number of landing significant strikes per minute with 3.85. But his striking defense is not bad, as he only absorbs 2.38 strikes in return. Although his grappling stats are not the best, he is not likely to use his ground skills against Stephen Thompson.
The 39-year-old has a UFC record of 11-6-1. However, 5 of his losses have come in his last 8 fights. During his prime, fighters used to dread the prospect of going up against Wonderboy. His karate stance gave a lot of competitors problems and even a prime Tyron Woodley could not solve the puzzle.
Amongst his notable wins, Thompson has beaten Robert Whittaker, Johny Hendricks, Jorge Masvidal, and Vicente Luque. As the bout against Holland will primarily be a striking battle, let’s break down Wonderboy’s striking stats. He absorbs an average of 2.81 strikes and lands 3.90. While his defense accuracy is 56%, Thompson’s striking accuracy stands at 43%.
Thompson holds 7 KO finishes, while Holland has managed to stop 13 opponents via strikes. While the latter will certainly have more power, the former is much more technical. But, at the age of 39, Stephen’s reflexes are not as sharp as they used to be. Hence, the 28-year-old Kevin Holland will be the favorite to win this Saturday on paper.