Kevin Holland promises a little less talking at UFC on ABC 2: ‘It’s kill or be killed’

LAS VEGAS – The change in Kevin Holland was apparent from the moment he stepped into the room for his Wednesday media session at the UFC Apex.

Gone was the boisterous, jovial Holland of just three weeks prior. Instead, Holland’s tone was much more subdued.

“It’s kill or be killed,” Holland told MMA Junkie. “Go out there and get the kill, get the job done, go home – you know what I mean? Do my thing.”

Holland’s approach to the media day was a clear reaction to the criticism he received following a rather bizarre fight with Derek Brunson just a few weeks ago, where he seemed more focused on talking to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was cageside, than actually beating his opponent. Following a lackluster decision loss, Holland was the target of some very pointed backlash.

Holland said the message was received – even if he didn’t necessarily agree with it all.

“I’m just here to do the job, you know what I mean,” Holland said. “It’s like everybody wants ‘Big Mouth’ until ‘Big Mouth’ failed, (and) now they don’t want ‘Big Mouth’ anymore, so as far as I’m concerned, I’ll go out there and do what ‘Trailblazer’ does, collect my ‘W,’ and then take my black ass back home.”

Holland (21-6 MMA, 8-3 UFC) will get a chance to put the performance behind him when he faces Marvin Vettori (16-3-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) in the headlining bout of Saturday’s UFC on ABC 2 event, which airs live on ABC from the UFC Apex.

Stepping in for an injured Darren Till, Holland now competes in his second UFC main event in just three weeks, and while he knows things need to be a little different than his last outing, he believes he’s proving his worth to the promotion by taking the contest.

“I think there were some things I needed to work on before I got this main event, but at the same time, when the company needs somebody to step up, I’m here to step up when nobody else will,” Holland said. “I think it was one of those situations where “Trailblazer’ needed to be here, and I’m here.”

For fans, the build-up to the matchup will certainly have less flavor than one might have hoped. While there is history between them, Holland made it clear he’s not willing to partake in as much pre-fight banter as he has in previous contests. That said, he still believes he can get the best of Vettori even without the pre-fight mind games.

“I’m going to mess with him in the cage,” Holland said. “At the end of the day, he’s going to get toyed with, you know what I mean? The work with Marvin’s head has already been put in you, so when we get out there, I’ll show you guys exactly what I mean.”

Kevin Holland (left) didn’t have his best night against Derek Brunson on March 20. (UFC/Getty courtesy photo)

Winning has a way of solving a lot of problems in MMA, and Holland has certainly showed a penchant for entertaining while earning a victory. But Holland, the 2020 MMA Junkie “Fighter of the Year,” said he’s not overly concerned with what fans may have to say after Saturday.

UFC president Dana White signs the checks, and therefore his opinion matters. Any others, not so much.

“Dana wasn’t really happy with the performance, and I can understand why he wasn’t happy with the performance,” Holland said. “He’s the boss, you know? He was looking forward to me doing certain things to Brunson so, you know, it could bring better revenue later on. I don’t think Brunson brings good revenue to the game or to the sport, so I could feel where he was upset from – everybody else who was upset, shut the f*ck up, you know what I mean?

“So yeah, I can understand where the boss is upset from. I understand where the boss is coming from 100 percent. … Here and there he’s had things to say, and best believe I’ve had open ears and I’ve listened.”

To see the full interview with Holland, check out the video above.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2021/04/ufc-on-abc-2-kevin-holland-promises-less-talking

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