Italian Meatball, Marvin Vettori, is on a warpath to serve his revenge to Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. In his way stands trash-talking, counter-punching American dream, Kevin Holland.

UFC on ABC 2: Vettori vs Holland Predictions & Results

Thirteen fights on this card, maybe three are of importance or interest. Let’s just grit our teeth and get through this so we can move towards UFC 261 at lightning speed.

Without a proper coach, a series of issues outside of the octagon and a lack of commitment to training – Mike Perry desperately needs to turn his slide around.

Main Event

Middleweight (185)

Marvin Vettori (16-3-1) vs Kevin Holland (21-6)

After delivering terrible trash talk for a few years, and a slight hiatus with PEDs charges, Vettori is finally starting to emerge as a real threat in the Middleweight division. Three years ago, Vettori could have counted himself very unlucky not to walk away with the win against Israel Adesanya. It would be Vettori’s first-round stoppage over Karl Roberson, in a fight that had to be rescheduled three times, that brought some attention to the Italian’s name. To then just half a year later fighting a grappling boogeyman in Jack Hermansson, and dominating the Scandi over five rounds, was what brought the spotlights.

Vettori is a very strong athlete if a little raw in all facets. Rather than spending time to make reads, Vettori is most comfortable when he is regularly prodding with straight shots and keeping his arms extended to parry incoming damage. Against a fighter like Holland who will utilise his reach, Vettori possesses a sharp slipping game into a counter hook that will catch Holland off-guard at some point during the fight. Vettori is an absolute workhorse in the octagon and will happily grind an opponent down with volume or against the cage/mat. Perhaps the most important factor, after last month’s showing for Kevin Holland, is Vettori’s extremely underrated wrestling. While Vettori’s shots are nowhere near the same frequency as a Derek Brunson, Vettori’s top control against Hermansson was sweltering and denied his opponent any opportunity to get up, let alone find a submission.

Three inches of height and seven inches of reach advantage plays directly into the counter-striking game of Kevin Holland. Obviously, questions remain over Holland’s mental after his capitulation to the grinding pressure wrestling of Brunson. Personally, it felt like a freak exception. Holland also managed to find some success in the fifth round, as well as catching Brunson hard a couple of times across the contest. Poor luck and overconfidence led to Holland tasting the canvas more times than necessary against Brunson, and his typically strong scrambles should make an appearance on Saturday night.

Holland’s clearest path to victory will be adhering to his stellar control of position in the octagon. There may not be any flashy footwork on show, but Holland continually wins the ‘unseen’ fight as he continually positions himself at safe distances to utilise his reach and nullify his opponent’s. It isn’t just feints with the hands either. Swivelling on the balls of his feet, Holland threatens with teep and head kicks despite his clear preference for boxing. Moreover, Holland found success in the Joaquin Buckley fight with intercepting elbows. Vettori is a more compact fighter than Buckley, but he will still meet the same hurdle of attempting to close the distance against Holland and may end up eating the same elbows.

Predicted Result: Vettori Decision

This is an incredibly difficult pick to make, despite the overwhelming verdict pointing towards a Vettori victory. Vettori is a fabulous athlete, who can adhere to a game plan and grind out a decision over five rounds. While the Italian doesn’t possess the same power or volume in the wrestling department as say a Derek Brunson, he only needs the one takedown each round. Against Jack Hermansson, Vettori impressed with his sweltering top control that refused to allow the grappling expert to get back to his feet, let alone search for a submission. Holland’s strong scrambles and TDD are being overlooked after his mental capitulation last month, but he will more than likely be able to keep this fight standing for extended periods. Moreover, Vettori’s bull-rushing striking, feeling the need to consistently throw and keep an opponent backed up, plays directly into the hands of Holland’s liquid counter-striking. Vettori may be able to slip the jab more often than not, but when he closes the distance, he will be susceptible to Holland’s intercepting elbows that. If it hadn’t been for the last-minute nature of the call-up, I’d favour Holland in this bout.

Powerful meme fighter, ‘Bald Vettori’, recorded a career performance against Middleweight boogeyman, Jack Hermansson.

Result: Vettori def. Holland // Decision (unanimous – 50-44, 50-44, 50-44)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Co-Main Event

Featherweight (145)

Arnold Allen (16-1) vs Sodiq Yusuff (11-1)

It’s been a long old time since we last saw Arnold Allen. Allen has never been offered the most consistent match-making to begin with, but after a year out and missing two big fights with Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens, Allen needs a statement performance to put his name back on the Featherweight map. Having fought a strong variety of fighters in the UFC (Nik Lentz, Gilbert Melendez, Mads Burnell), Allen has shown growth in every subsequent fight. Allen can do a bit of everything well. His boxing is crisp and seems to pack a decent sting, his scrambles are excellent, and his control over the mid-range is what allows him to avoid a continual stream of damage. Questions remain over whether Allen is an elite featherweight, mostly due to his lack of activity or push up the rankings, but his ability to come on strong late in the contest indicates there are more layers of Allen’s game yet to be revealed.

Fellow prospect, Sodiq Yusuff, meets Allen in a crossroads fight which will determine who gets the promotional push. While Yusuff’s violent knockout string at the regionals was what attracted the limelight, his last fight against Andre Fili was far more impressive. Fili is a proven UFC entity who can drag fighters into uncomfortable areas and waters. Yusuff instead patiently out-struck Fili with educated combinations rather than explosive swarms as well as exhibiting a keen TDD. Unfortunately for Yusuff, the same problems with his gas tank remain. Entering into the third round, Yusuff’s volume falls off a cliff and he is easily bullied positionally around the octagon.

Predicted Result: Allen Decision

Both men are excellent prospects and a victory here will finally earn them an overdue promotional push from the UFC. Allen has exhibited a continually sharpened skill-set over each subsequent fight, but it is his freak work rate that will prove king. Yusuff possesses fearsome heavy hands, and he was able to patiently out-strike Andre Fili for two rounds. Unfortunately, Yusuff’s volume falls off a cliff by the third round. If Allen’s chin can weather an early storm, the Brit should be able to pour huge amounts of pressure in the second half of the fight.

Allen lived up to the hype once again when he dominated veteran, Nik Lentz, back in January 2020.

Result: Allen def. Yusuff // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Main Card

Middleweight (185)

Sam Alvey (33-14-1) vs Julian Marquez (8-2)

Smiling Sam lol. The man, the myth, the legend. Memes aside, the company mouthpiece looked decent in his last outing against Da Un Jung, perhaps deserving of the W rather than the official draw. Alvey will be moving down to Middleweight after his unsuccessful foray into Light Heavyweight. Alvey’s chin seems to have had a bit of renaissance in the past couple of years too. Eating heavy blows from Klidson Abreu, Ryan Spann and Da Un Jung, Alvey remained in the fight and settled into his boxing during the later proceedings. It is always a slow start, however, and as such he bleeds rounds.

Julian Marquez is your classic granite chinned, head-down pressure fighter. Big loopy hooks land with far more venom than they appear aesthetically (credited by his long list of knockouts). With Alvey’s patient back-foot boxing, Marquez will have free rein over the positioning and pace of the fight. While Marquez is pretty poor off of his back, Alvey has shown little desire to shoot.

Predicted Result: Marquez TKO Round 2

Alvey has the tools to win this, but he frequently enters the octagon with some of the worst game plans in UFC history. Patiently operating off of his back-foot from the get-go, Marquez will have rein over the pace and range of the fight. While Smilin’ can still crack with his left hand (wobbling Da Un Jung a couple of times), Marquez has so far shown a wonderful chin. If, as expected, Alvey backs himself onto the cage, Marquez will be able to throw his best work. Clubbing overhands, dirty boxing on the inside and regular threats of submissions.

Result: Marquez def. Alvey // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 2:07

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Nina Nunes (10-6) vs Mackenzie Dern (10-1)

Nina Nunes, formerly Nina Ansaroff, isn’t the most exciting to watch. That isn’t to say Nina isn’t a solid feature in the UFC roster – she has excellent TDD which allows her to out-point fighters on the feet. Nina has recently had a baby, however, and while it is a somewhat sensitive subject to bring up – fighters in the past have returned noticeably weaker. Opponent, Mackenzie Dern, was able to bounce back from maternity with great success, but Nina is thirty-five and last won a fight three years ago. Still, Nina’s bread and butter isn’t athletic superiority but instead her jab which matadors her opposition.

Mackenzie Dern seems to have solved her issues on the scales, which was increasingly becoming a worry. Instead, since her underwhelming loss to Amanda Ribas, Dern has been on a grappling tear-up. First-round submissions over Hannah Cifers and Randa Markos were good for the highlight reel, but not exactly stellar scalps for the record. Dern’s success in large part is due to her natural strength which bullies opponents to the mat, and her striking is still pretty atrocious technically.

Predicted Result: Dern Decision

Ansaroff has the technical ability and experience to win this bout with ease, if not for the factor of momentum. Ansaroff possesses the TDD to prevent Dern’s bullying wrestling, as well as a ridiculously good jab to pepper the Brazilian for fifteen minutes. Still, Dern is riding a huge wave of momentum (against pretty tame opposition) and Ansaroff is returning from a maternity layoff. Dern’s heavy hands, although uncoordinated, could catch Ansaroff off-guard and make the transition to the mat much smoother for Dern.

Result: Dern def. Ansaroff // Submission (armbar) Round 1 4:48

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Welterweight (170)

Mike Perry (14-7) vs Daniel Rodriguez (13-2)

Man, I don’t know how many more pre-fights I can write for Mike Perry. His physical and mental decline has been astonishing to follow, and Dana’s consistent match-making serves only to confirm to Perry that the path he is on is the correct one. Perry may have all the physical talents in the world – freak chin, massive heart, heavy strikes in every area of the octagon, but what is the use when he will go on crazy binges in between fights. At least Perry has a coach this time around, tutored by Daniel Valverde, Colby Covington’s coach.

Despite being overwhelmed by the volume and tenacity of Nicolas Dalby, there is still a lot to love about Daniel Rodriguez. Perhaps just as durable as Perry, Rodriguez differs on the feet by favouring power over volume. Rodriguez’s hand speed is noticeably bad, and the early exchanges will favour Perry, but Rodriguez is laser accurate and will catch his opponent regularly throughout.

Predicted Result: Perry Decision

Both men hit hard and both are extremely durable. While Rodriguez is an accurate power puncher, his corpse-like hand speed may be lost on the scorecards under Perry’s voluminous flurries. Sure, you can never guarantee what version of Perry will enter the octagon, but his move to Daniel Valverde at least indicates he is getting back on the right path. Perry will struggle to shoot on Rodriguez and offer another look, but I’m not sure Rodriguez has the ability to keep Perry on the end of his straight shots.

Result: Rodriguez def. Perry // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Preliminary Card

Lightweight (155)

Jim Miller (32-15) vs Joe Solecki (10-2)

Big Jim Miller just doesn’t stop fighting. Even at thirty-seven years old, Miller still operates as a tricky gatekeeper for the young bucks. You have to be a freak athlete or possess a well-rounded skill-set to have a somewhat easy night against the submission guru. Miller can no longer count on his durability to wait out opponents, but he has found great success in recent years by chasing a first-round submission. Respect.

Joe Solecki looks to be made from the same mould as Miller. A strong grappler, Solecki doesn’t waste much time securing control time and instead seeks out the choke. Solecki’s boxing looks crisp early but they haven’t been tested in the later rounds. Perhaps Solecki’s key advantage in this fight is his deep gas tank and knowledge that Miller will be tamed after the first round.

Predicted Result: Solecki Submission Round 3

Miller, the gatekeeper that’s been around since the dawn of man, always has the chance to secure a freak first-round submission as has been the game plan in the past few years. Solecki seems to be a younger, more athletically gifted Miller, however. After an early back-and-forth, Solecki can rely on his deep gas tank and punish the veteran. Solecki’s strikes in the clinch are thoroughly underrated, and by targeting the body he will drain whatever is left in the legs of Miller.

Result: Solecki def. Miller // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 30-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Lightweight (155)

Scott Holtzman (14-4) vs Mateusz Gamrot (17-1)

Poor old Scott Holtzman. Every time he tries to make a small step up in competition, Holtzman is knocked straight back down into the obscure unranked purgatory of Lightweight. The former hockey player is a grinder in the clinch and carries surprising power for a decision machine, but his TDD is hopeless. The head simply does not move for Holtzman, however.

Although Gamrot was unfortunate to be on the losing side of his debut against Guram Kutateladze, he didn’t exactly impose himself in the way that many KSW fans had hoped. Still, Gamrot chased the takedowns and utilised his jab to great effect. He struggled with Kutateladze’s heavy kicking game, but his wrestling should be the only base necessary to dominate Holtzman.

Predicted Result: Gamrot Decision

Holtzman is an honest grinder who can deliver serious punishment from the clinch. Unfortunately for Holtzman, it is difficult to see how he can battle with Gamrot over the range of the fight, as the Poles’ jab rarely misses the mark. Worse yet, Gamrot’s bread and butter wrestling is primed to expose the holes in Holtzman’s TDD.

Result: Gamrot def. Holtzman // KO (punches) Round 2 1:22

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

Norma Dumont (5-1) vs Erin Blanchfield (6-1)

Predicted Result: 🚫 FIGHT CANCELLED 🚫

Lightweight (155)

John Makdessi (17-7) vs Ignacio Bahamondes (11-3)

Kickboxer, John Makdessi, must surely be looking at the exit door at this point. With a series of injuries, declining athleticism, slender 5’8″ frame, and a consistent inability to control the pace in the octagon, Makdessi is a product of the past. Wheeling around the border of the octagon and using sidekicks like a jab is fun to watch, but he just doesn’t commit at any point over the fifteen minutes and as such, leaves it up to the judges’ discretion.

DWCS prospect, Bahamondes is a massive 6’3″ for Lightweight. The twenty-three-year-old Chilean is a kicking monster who surprises opponents by connecting with his freak reach. Bahomendes’ TDD looks awkward and cumbersome so far, especially when considering his opposition, but Makdessi isn’t the man to exploit this. Bahamondes’ guard needs a huge amount of work, but he has the athletic gifts to grow in the organisation. Surprisingly, Bahamondes’ boxing on the inside is clean, pepping opponents with uppercuts before committing to the liver shot.

Predicted Result: Bahamondes Decision

Makdessi will undoubtedly continue to follow the same game plan as of the past few years, wheeling around the border of the octagon on his back foot and refusing to commit to any exchanges. Using his sidekick as a jab, Makdessi is technically clean but he is more than aware of his lack of durability. Bahamondes has almost five inches in height, and while he will be killing himself to make weight, the Chilean has so far looked impeccable on the feet. Bahomendes hasn’t exactly been fighting killers and his TDD looks suspect already, but Makdessi isn’t the fighter to expose this.

Result: Makdessi def. Bahamondes // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Heavyweight (265)

Yorgan De Castro (6-2) vs Jarjis Danho (5-1-1)

On a two-fight slide, De Castro has looked a far cry from the man who destroyed Alton Meeks and Justin Tafa. It is kinda sad, because De Castro’s clean counter striking was a pleasure to watch in 2019. Against Hardy, however, despite having huge success with the leg kick early, De Castro stopped and refused to throw any significant shots when he realised he was winning. You could claim gas tank issues, but I just think he loses his direction easily.

Without a fight for five years, nor a win in the UFC, Danho has been kept around to be fed to Greg Hardy or Tai Tuivasa. When those fights fell through, the UFC had no other option but to offer Danho to De Castro. The former strongman is a powerful immovable wall but lacks a gas tank and the ability to string together combinations longer than a single jab or hook.

Predicted Result: De Castro TKO Round 2

Lord, please don’t allow this to be a fight where both men gas out in a minute and we have to watch three rounds of exhausted grappling. Former strongman, Jarjis Danho, really shouldn’t be in the UFC anymore considering he has never won in the organisation and hasn’t fought for five years. Record aside, Danho was incapable of throwing more than single potshots back in the day, and only found success in using his strength to rough opponents up against the cage. De Castro has been a massive disappointment since his first-round knockout over Justin Tafa, but the clean counter-striker should have more than enough technical skill to find the stoppage.

Result: Danho def. De Castro // KO (punch) Round 1 3:02

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Bantamweight (135)

Jack Shore (13-0) vs Hunter Azure (9-1)

Former Cage Warriors champion, Jack Shore, has so far looked impeccable in the UFC. While Shore isn’t an athletic specimen, The Welsh prospect already looks polished. His striking isn’t likely to find many stoppages, but Shore rarely misses and as such can keep opponents from consistently pressuring him. The money maker is his work on the mat, however, and Shore is a ridiculously slick grappler who slides to control the back with almost no effort at all. While Shore wants to secure the submission, he keeps active with strikes to force opponents to risk moving and opening themselves up.

Hunter is a physical monster at 135 with a strong wrestling base. As seen against Brian Kelleher, however, Hunter is very easily baited to fighting to his opponent’s tune. Hunter’s speed could catch out Shore early but if he overcommits then Shore will be able to snake his way to the mat. This is the first real test of whether Shore is able to manage a plus athlete.

Predicted Result: Shore Decision

Shore is a slept-on grappling monster at Bantamweight that exudes maturity despite his youth. On the mat, Shore has a knack of sneaking his way onto opponent’s backs and punishing them for extended periods. Moreover, Shore’s measured striking is enough to keep opponent’s from simply pressing him all fight. Hunter, however, is a physical specimen with heavy hands and a powerful wrestling base. This will be Shore’s first real test in the UFC in regards to whether his technical ability is enough to manage a plus athlete.

Result: Shore def. Azure // Decision (split – 28-29, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Featherweight (145)

Luis Saldana (14-6) vs Jordan Griffin (18-8)

DWCS prospect, Luis Saldana, is a regional who desperately requires opponents to respect his reach and keep on the end of his punches. Saldana throws an exciting mix of spinning kicks and superman punches, but he needs to use his jab more often during his frequent periods of inactivity. Unfortunately, against the cage and off his back, Saldana is a lamb to the slaughter.

Ugly record or not, Jordan Griffin has tussled with solid competition over the past few years and proven his worth in wins and losses. Griffin’s iron chin bails him out of sticky situations regularly during fights, but it also enables the American to close the distance and take the fight to the floor. Pretty erratic on the mat, Griffin aims to rain down punishment and will have fun against Saldana if he ends up on his back.

Predicted Result: Griffin Submission Round 2

Noodle boy, Luis Saldana, is an entertaining striker to watch with his flair superman punches and spinning kicks but his inability to lay down a jab means opponents can nullify his reach advantage with relative ease. While Griffin isn’t an educated striker or grappler, but his iron chin and willingness to enter the firing line will see the American eventually take Saldana down and drag Saldana into a very uncomfortable war of attrition.

Result: Saldana def. Griffin // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Light Heavyweight (205)

Da Un Jung (13-2-1) vs William Knight (9-1)

Bruh, how does one suffer the ignominy of a draw to Smilin’ Sam Alvey in the year 2020? Jung is a pressure boxer who aims to land hard shots before clinching his unbalanced opponent and landing filthy elbows. A lack of back-foot counter striking was exposed by Alvey, but Jung’s durability and power means the Korean should never be pressured off of the front foot in the first place. Volume is the major issue, and if Jung was able to throw to even land on the guard, then his lack of volume wouldn’t always come back to bite him.

William Knight was expected to be a first-round threat against Aleksa Camur before Camur turned up the pressure in the later rounds, but Knight flipped the script and bossed the entire proceedings. Knight isn’t going to beat many at the mid-range, but he is an extremely powerful grinder who batters the leg before getting up close to land dirty boxing. Unfortunately, when backing up he leaves his chin wide open and aimed at the ceiling.

Predicted Result: Jung Decision

Knight is a powerhouse of a man who can hold his own on the feet and threaten with the occasional takedown. Jung, however, has a huge reach advantage and the superior striking from range to leave Knight unable to close the distance. Knight could turn this into an ugly affair by roughing Jung up against the fence, but it is unlikely that Jung will be easily moved from his front-foot pressure style. Knight owns a good chin but Jung loves to pour on the pressure when he has a fighter reeling, and the Korean will eventually find the chin during this contest.

Result: Jung def. Knight // Decision (unanimous – 30-26, 30-26, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Welterweight (170)

Impa Kasanganay (8-1) vs Sahsa Palatnikov (6-2)

Poor old Impa returns for his first fight since the Buckley KO loss, a spanner in the works for what was a rapid rise up the Middleweight rankings. The loss may have been a blessing in disguise for the twenty-seven-year-old as he still requires time to hone out his raw skill set. Moving down a weight class will see Kasanganay bring his already imposing size and aim to bully opponents away from wrestling.

Sasha Palatnikov cost the bookies when he earned a surprise third-round stoppage over Louis Cosce through virtue of a deep gas tank and crisp clinch work. Palatnikov’s chin is wide open for the taking, though, and while his recovery is exceptional, his leaky striking defence leaves much to be desired.

Predicted Result: Kasanganay TKO Round 2

Already a sizeable beast at Middleweight, Kasanganay’s size should be overwhelming for most of the unranked Welterweights. While he hasn’t shown much in the way of one-punch lights out power, Palatnikov’s striking defence is hilariously bad. Palatnikov could find success in landing his punishing elbows in the clinch, but Kasangany has excelled in the clinch before.

Result: Kasanganay def. Palatnikov // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 0:26

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

Prediction Accuracy

UFC on ABC 2

Winner: 9/13

Method: 6/13

Round: 8/13

2021 MMA Season

Winner: 82/136

Method: 69/136

Round: 69/136

MMA Overall

Winner: 273/440

Method: 206/440

Round: 195/440

Takeaway comments: Korea has a rising star on their hands.

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