Kevin Holland will not use the fight against Stephen Thompson


NEW YORK – Kevin Holland wants to fight fire with fire.

Holland (23-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) has no plans to use grappling in his next fight against expert forward Stephen Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC ). The two are set to square off in a five-round main event at UFC on ESPN 42, which takes place Dec. 3 in Orlando.

Although Holland has 15 UFC fights under his belt, the upcoming fight against “Wonderboy” stands out. He sees it as a great opportunity to beat Thompson and prove himself to be one of the best standing fighters in the UFC.

“It’s not really a stand-and-bang (fight), it’s a real technical fight, and you have to implement certain things to get to ‘Wonderboy’ and have your way with ‘Wonderboy'”, said Holland told reporters backstage at UFC 281 last week. “I plan to implement those things, and I plan to show that I can hit with the best of them.

“It’s just a very, very fun match. Talk about a guy who fought for a world title, who fought some of the best out there at the top of the weight class for a long time. If you want a number next to your name, you have to go through someone like that.

Thompson, 39, is currently on a two-fight losing skid. Losses came to top contenders Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad, who had grappling-based game plans.

Holland still sees Thompson as a dangerous game and opponent despite the losses. Yet he feels he has the tools to solve the puzzle on his feet.

“He’s lost to the people who decided to struggle all along,” Holland said of Thompson. “People who decide to hit it off usually don’t have a good night, unless you’re Anthony Pettis. I think I’m as creative as Anthony, even though he was very creative in this octagon, this cage. But yeah, against ‘Wonderboy’, there’s only one way to go, and that’s forward.

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