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Kevin Holland prepares to fight Alex Oliveira of Brazil in their welterweight fight during the UFC 272 event on March 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Kevin Holland: Here To Fight

Competing In Front Of Hometown Fans Against Tim Means At UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett, Holland Is Focused Strictly On The Job At Hand: Fighting.

On December 12, 2020, Kevin Holland stood victorious in the center of a near empty UFC APEX, beside his vanquished opponent, “Jacaré” Souza. Capping off a historic calendar year, in which Holland won five consecutive fights with four finishes, he began making a name for himself as one of UFC’s most promising talents.

After back-to-back defeats to top middleweight contenders Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson, Holland made the move to welterweight and was slated to fight Alex Oliveira to kickstart his 2022 campaign. In an exhilarating bout, Holland capitalized off a knockdown, jumping on top of Oliveira and unloading vicious ground-and-pound to end the fight in the second round.

Three months later, Holland makes the short trip from his training ground in Fort Worth, Texas, to the Moody Center in Austin to fight Tim Means at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett, in front of a hometown crowd of 15,000.

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“It always feels good to fight in front of the hometown people,” Holland said. “I’m looking forward to it, getting out there and getting the job done."

But the location doesn’t seem to draw any more intrigue from “Trailblazer” than the empty APEX. Stepping into the Octagon against Means, Holland isn’t inspired by the fans or the glamour, but by his passion for fighting.

“It wouldn’t matter if it was a big crowd or no crowd,” Holland said. “You see me do pretty good in 2020 when there was no crowd and you see me do okay when there is a crowd, so I’m just happy to fight. I like to fight.”

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Holland’s resume validates those words. Holding multiple UFC records, Holland is currently tied for the most wins in a calendar year with five in 2020, the most ever in the middleweight division. He also holds the record for most Octagon appearances in a 12-month period with seven from May 2020 to April 2021.

Riding a three-fight win steak, Means is coming into this fight seemingly at his best. After nearly a year away from the cage, though, Means’ momentum may have stalled. Looking at that recent success, Holland doesn’t see anything to bat an eye toward. His opponent’s overall career experience, however, is something to note.

Tim Means vs Kevin Holland Preview | UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett
Tim Means vs Kevin Holland Preview | UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett

“I’m not really worried about the win streak, I’m just worried about Tim overall as an opponent,” Holland said. “Tim has 45-50 fights, that’s a lot of fights under his belt. Tim’s an OG, he’s a vet, so his last three fights really don’t mean much to me, but all of his fights together, that’s something special, so I’m looking forward to going in there and getting the job done against a real vet."

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The praise was met with an overwhelming confidence that despite Means’ experience, there won’t be anything standing in his way of achieving yet another career highlight. Prepared for wherever the fight goes, Holland is confident to handle any and all challenges with ease.

“If he wants to take damage all night, I don’t plan on taking damage, so if he wants to take the damage and withstand three rounds of me straight blasting through, then sounds good to me,” Holland said.

Best Finishes From Saturday's Fighters | UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett
Best Finishes From Saturday's Fighters | UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett

For someone who spends so much time in the Octagon as Holland, a 15-minute war, even if one-sided, isn’t his goal.  Finding a knockout or putting his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to good use isn’t only preferred, but an expectation.

"I always look for a finish,” Holland said. “It’s very rarely that I go to a decision; I think I’ve only been to a decision four or five times, maybe twice to get the win, so I hardly go to a decision.”

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As much entertainment as Holland produces with his fighting, the same goes for his words. Trading strike for strike, and providing commentary to his opponent in the process, Holland’s results are indicative of his confidence in the cage.

“That is my success when I’m in there, having fun” Holland said. “People take the job too serious. I feel bad for those guys.”

UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett, took place on Saturday, June 18, 2022, live from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass