Want to touch Oleksiejczuk’s head frequently with ferocity and velocity, says Kevin Holland

The 31-year-old holds the record for joint-most wins (5) in a calendar year, is not currently in the best of form.

Published : Jun 01, 2024 10:28 IST , CHENNAI - 4 MINS READ

Kevin Holland weighs in during the UFC 302 Ceremonial Weigh.
Kevin Holland weighs in during the UFC 302 Ceremonial Weigh. | Photo Credit: AFP

Kevin Holland weighs in during the UFC 302 Ceremonial Weigh. | Photo Credit: AFP

Mixed Martial Arts veteran Kevin Holland will be looking to change his fortune when he takes on Michal Oleksiejczuk in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on Sunday at the Prudential Centre in New Jersey. 

The “Trailblazer,” who holds the record for joint-most wins (5) in a calendar year, is not currently in the best of form. Before falling on the wrong side of the scorecard against Michael Page, Holland lost against Jack Della Maddalena. Both were decision losses. 

He has earned 14 of his 25 wins by knockout, but that isn’t all that he is bringing to the table, as he has secured seven wins by submission. His last victory against Michael Chiesa at UFC 291 last July came by submission, showing that the 31-year-old isn’t just a threat on the feet but also on the mat.

Oleksiejczuk also brings some power into the matchup, earning 14 of his 19 wins by knockout with only one submission victory, meaning this fight could be a striker’s delight. 

Ahead of the weekend’s fight, Sportstar caught up with Holland, and here’s an excerpt from the interaction:

Q: You have a huge reach advantage over Michal, and 55% of your significant strikes have been to the head. Do you think that’s a place you’re going to look to exploit?

A: Well, he does have a big head, so I plan on touching that thing quite often and quite frequently, with a little bit of ferocity and velocity. I damn sure want the guy to feel me, and I wouldn’t mind making him feel like he has to Boo Boo too.

Q: The last two fights haven’t gone your way. How have you prepared this time around? What changes, if any, did you make based on what’s happened?

A: I spent more time in Houston, and I noticed a lot of my fight camps that I do in the DFW. I run low on training partners about halfway through. The good thing about Houston is that they’re already pretty well situated. So, I had plenty of training partners to get good work in with. So I think ultimately having those training partners should help make the difference, but it’s easier said than done, right?

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Q: Over 50 percent of your wins are from knockouts. What’s the secret behind that consistency?

A: I do consider myself a finisher because, mostly, that’s usually how I win. It’s crazy because people say you never look confident when you make decisions. Well, all my losses are usually from decisions. So, when the decision comes around, I usually just think that, at least two out of the three aren’t going to like me, and it won’t go my way. And it’s been like that a few times. So like Dan (Dana White) always said, never leave it in the hands of the judges and always finish their opponent.

Q: In 2022, out of the blue, after the fight with Chimaev, you announced your retirement from MMA. What made you change your decision?

A: I needed more money.

Q: What was running through your mind when you made the announcement?

A: I thought I had a lot of money when I made the announcement, and I looked at my kids tuition, and I said, ‘Oh, I need a little more.’

Q: What’s your prediction for the main event between Makhachev and Porier? 

A: I think that it would be a beautiful story to see Dustin be able to get something like that. He’s always wanted. But there’s a reason why Charles Barkley (former professional basketball player) never got a ring. I’m not saying he was a bad player, but it was just the reason why he never got a ring. He still has a wonderful career and has accomplished a lot, but there’s a reason why Charles Barkley and Allison Iverson never got a ring. Some guys just aren’t meant to get it, and that’s just the way the game goes sometimes. 

Live streaming/telecast information: 
Watch UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier on 2nd June 2024 from 7:30 AM IST onwards LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 2 SD & HD, Sony Sports Ten 3 SD & HD (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 SD & HD (Tamil & Telugu).
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