UFC Fight Night 193 will feature a middleweight co-main event between Kevin Holland and Kyle Daukaus. Although competing in the UFC since 2018, Kevin Holland made history in 2020, earning the attention of the masses by winning five times in the calendar year. This is the most in the modern era of MMA. En route for 2020, Holland took out legend Jacare Souza and halted the momentum of fellow rising stars, Darren Stewart and Joaquin Buckley. However, his 2021 thus far has not lived up to the previous year’s expectations, going 0-2, albeit against far superior competition. Having only lost to top title contenders, a win on Saturday is a big step for Holland getting back on track to the top.
For Kyle Daukaus, a win on Saturday would make up for a UFC career so far not living up to his high expectations. Stemming from a family of fighters, the Daukaus name has recently made headlines when Chris Daukaus, Kyle’s older brother picked up an impressive KO victory at UFC 266. Like his brother Kyle, Daukaus rode a lot of hype when he entered the UFC in 2020 with a 9-0 record. However since then, he has flip-flopped between wins and losses, hard-fought decisions every time, Daukaus has yet to demonstrate the deadly submission game that brought him to the UFC in the first place. On Saturday he will look to finally imitate the success he had outside the UFC.
Holland vs. Daukaus betting odds
Kevin Holland will enter the substantial favorite over Daukaus. A down wager of $100 on the underdog would bring a return of $140 if he claims the upset.
Holland vs. Daukaus breakdown
Kevin Holland’s strengths and weaknesses are largely known for the most part. He has great power in his hands, he is dynamic and unorthodox, but has long been defeated primarily in the grappling department.
Kevin Holland is a loose, confident striker, who stands tall and uses his long arms to box while mixing in his tricky traditional martial arts techniques. Often he will offset his opponent’s comfort in the fight with deceivingly fast front leg kicks to the head and body, and what makes him so dangerous is he can generate KO power in his hands from very awkward angles. In positions where his opponents should be safe from fundamental boxing techniques, Holland is able to generate odd hammerfists, and slap-like punches with the power of more fundamentally sound techniques.
Further, he can generate this power moving both forwards or backward, and even off his back as evident against Jacare Souza last year. However, when he is unable to find success with few power shots off his bag, this position is largely also where he loses. Against superior wrestlers, the clock is not Holland’s friend. He is a black belt in jiu jitsu, but his strengths are for the most part in his defense, he has a difficult guard to pass, and he defends the upper body, therefore submissions very well. When he finds his legs trapped, this is where he loses steam, as it is seemingly not second nature to hip escape and create room with his lower body as of yet. While he did show improvements doing so in his last fight, the adjustments are still new to Holland and he was unable to stick to them for the whole fight.
Kyle Daukaus is by far the less comfortable striker and the more credentialled grappler. Of his 10 wins, 8 have come via submissions, but to be more specific, Daukaus specializes in front chokes. He has a long reach which allows him to snap onto guillotines and his specialty Brabo choke extremely fast. His reach is also used to work long in boxing range and draw out the wrestling of his opponent, however, he will be at the disadvantage in reach against Holland in this match-up.
What he does have going for him in the striking though, is it is no secret that it aids Daukaus to get the fight to the ground more than it does Holland. Therefore, Daukaus will have the added benefit of being more liberal with his kicks without fearing too much, Holland countering with a trip or takedown. If Daukaus can end up the one top, he is very good at stuffing the lower body and landing heavy ground and pound, a tactic that plays well against Holland’s primary weakness.
Holland vs. Daukaus prediction
While Daukaus should have the advantage if the fight gets to the mat, a large difference between he and Holland’s previous opponents is more so in the wrestling. Daukaus often relies on drawing out the grappling exchanges through his opponent’s initiation and capitalizing with his submission game. Holland does not have much reason to initiate these as he should come in with a substantial striking advantage. Furthermore, as Holland’s jiu jitsu game is largely defensive, if anything holds up it should be his submission defense, so I see Holland able to do more damage and mitigate much of Daukaus’ work on the ground.
Prediction: Kevin Holland to win via KO or decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.