Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Holland Full Fight UFC 291 Part A
- Posted by unclebob on Jul 30, 2023
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Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Holland UFC 291 Salt Lake City Utah Fight Video Full HD Free Stream Replay Part A
Michael Chiesa makes his comeback in action on Saturday as part of the UFC 291 main card opener at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV after spending 18 months away from the octagon.
Chiesa, the 35-year-old Ultimate Fighter 15 champion, has time for one final shot at the championship after leading the pack in both lightweight and welterweight competitions.
Kevin Holland will have to be overcome before "The Maverick" can proceed.
Since we last saw Chiesa, Holland has been the complete opposite of his opponent in terms of activity level, cramming in five fights and a quick "retirement." Holland is one of the division's most exciting fighters with three performance awards in his most recent five fights, sometimes at the expense of his win-loss record.
Can Holland's fast-paced grappling ground under Chiesa last long enough to grind out the victory? Will Holland's superior striking be sufficient, or not?
One of the more mysterious fighters in the UFC, Kevin Holland is renowned for both his fighting prowess and his constant trash-talking.
Despite having a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he is best known for his aggressive and unconventional striking style, which only got better after his middleweight run.
With an 81-inch reach, Holland is incredibly long for the division and has an advantage over the majority of his opponents, including Chiesa.
Holland can have mediocre footwork that enables shorter opponents to close the distance against him, but he doesn't always maximize his length. However, he can kick fairly well from a distance, and his long arms give him plenty of power when making straight shots.
He performs best when using more conventional strikes, as he demonstrated in his fight with Stephen Thompson.
Even though Thompson is a skilled defensive fighter, Holland was able to repeatedly land his right hand on Thompson's chin, particularly when Thompson was fighting from the southpaw position.
Holland's long arms cause too much wind up and are somewhat easily avoided, so he appeared much worse when firing wild, looping shots at Thompson.
I predict that Chiesa, a southpaw with similar stature to Thompson, will face off against us in the same dynamic.
Holland also has his moments during grappling exchanges. He defeated Jacare Souza with a hammerfist from the bottom, slammed the door on the opponent, and has two UFC submission victories to his name.
Holland, however, finds himself on the bottom far too frequently in his BJJ-based style, and he probably needs this struggle to stay standing before putting his hand up.
That is a result of Chiesa's wrestling and scrambling prowess. I was consistently impressed by his ability to win in challenging situations after watching some of his previous fights.
Chiesa not only prevails in the majority of scrambles, but he is also a superb guard passer who constantly seeks to strengthen his position.
The priority Chiesa places on positions and submission attempts over damage is my biggest criticism of his strategy. Being in the top spot doesn't guarantee winning rounds, especially with the current scoring system.
To his credit, Chiesa frequently occupies more dominant positions that favor the judges more, but it's still a problem.
I was impressed by Chiesa's footwork and defense against Neil Magny, who, like Holland, has a significant advantage in the game.
Chiesa didn't rush takedown attempts from a dangerous range because he adhered to the rule of "all the way in or out." Against taller fighters, his ability to score takedowns from the clinch without having to shoot is a huge advantage.
However, Chiesa's offensive striking is lacking, with no professional knockout victories and fewer than two significant strikes landing per minute in the UFC.
Chiesa needs some takedowns to have a chance in MMA because, unlike in boxing, you can't win rounds with defense.