Some fighters accept every challenge thrown their way; others jaw at opponents, baiting them into a bout their management team begs them to avoid; there is also a rarified group willing to go to unfathomable lengths to collect a lucrative payday. Kevin Holland is all three rolled into one menacing contender.
In a tangled web that only Holland could weave, a slow 2021 may soon enter warp speed. Over the span of twelve hours, Khamzat Chimaev withdrew—for an “undisclosed reason”— from his upcoming main event opposite Leon Edwards on January 20, and an announcement of Holland versus Derek Brunson headlining in March was released. With the third-ranked welterweight without a dance partner and Holland hungry to not wait an entire season for a return to the Octagon, the universe seemed to shift in his favor. However, the rising prospect known as “Trailblazer” devised a devious plan, creating his own opportunity in the non-career of high-caliber prizefighting.
Though Chimaev’s camp isn’t releasing details as to why he was forced off the card, Holland may have a clue. Off the record (yet we’re publishing it anyways) Holland revealed that he had mailed Chimaev a box of chocolate covered Tide Pods for Christmas. Not only was Chimaev in the midst of a brutal camp, trying to cut to the welterweight limit, but Holland couldn’t imagine he’d actually eat a random gift from a sworn enemy on the UFC’s roster. Well…Holland thought wrong; Chimaev has more beard than brains.
When Holland learned Chimaev ate several of the “treats” and grew violently ill, he, at least initially, felt bad, Tweeting in the middle of the night about how the situation was affecting him:
Awhile later, playing the villain settled on Holland’s skin as comfortably as a tattoo.
With Brunson several months away, Holland began assembling the troops online to voice their interest about meeting Edwards on short-notice, an intriguing contest that nobody even knew they wanted—until now!
Holland states, “Big Mouth is calling,” yet the UFC may, instead, want to call a private investigator!