The UFC constructed another fantastic numbered card this weekend at T-Mobile Arena in the Fight Capital of the World, Las Vegas, NV. All roads lead to the main event featuring Nate Diaz as a massive underdog (+750) taking on #3 Khamzat Chimaev for five rounds. It’s a stacked card from top to bottom, including the main card catchweight bout between Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez. Let’s dive into each fighter’s recent history, stats and tendencies and lock in a wager for Saturday night.
- Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz
- Ion Cutelaba vs. Johnny Walker
- Irene Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson
- Li Jingliang vs. Tony Ferguson
Betting Profile: Kevin Holland (23-7-0, 1 NC)
Last Five Fights (WWNCLL)
Kevin Holland comes into Saturday’s contest riding a two-fight win streak, with both victories coming this year. Most recently, it was a submission victory over Tim Means and previously a technical KO over Alex Oliveira in March. The American-born brawler’s last four victories have all come inside the distance, with two coming by KO and the other pair by submission. Narrowing in on his recent fight, Holland outstruck his opponent 36-21 and was taken down twice, but Means was only able to manage 1:30 of control time. He rebounded nicely, and it only took 88 seconds into the second round before Holland stunned Means with a strong jab, knocking him to the canvas and locking in a D’Arce Choke to finish the fight.
I mentioned that Holland was taken down twice in his last fight, and that’s definitely a point of weakness for him, considering he boasts just a 50% takedown defense rate. Offensively, Trailblazer’s averaging 0.84 takedowns per 15 minutes and landing at a 43% success rate. You’d typically expect a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to be a little bit more polished in his grappling game. However, striking is where Kevin Holland makes his money, and it’s worth noting that he’s a second-degree black belt in Kung Fu. The 29-year-old lands 3.90 strikes per minute at a 54% clip while absorbing just 2.41.
Betting Profile: Daniel Rodriguez (16-2-0)
Last Five Fights (WWWLW)
Daniel Rodriguez won Dan White’s Contender Series in July of 2019 and made his official UFC debut against the very same Tim Means in February of the following year. It was a second-round Guillotine Choke for D-Rod, and he’s been on the fast track ever since. Including his Contender Series victory, he’s 7-1 in the octagon, with the only blemish being a unanimous decision loss to Nicolas Dalby in November of 2020. The California native is riding a three-fight win streak, most recently getting his hand raised against Kevin Lee in August of last year. It was a massive output from the southpaw as he outstruck Lee 120-56 over three rounds, marking the fourth time in eight UFC fights that Rodriguez has eclipsed 100+ strikes (120, 129, 175, 108).
As you’d imagine, the striking ability translates to the stat sheet, where D-Rod’s averaging an insane 8.06 significant strikes per minute at a 50% success rate. However, that often leaves him vulnerable as he’s absorbing 5.38 strikes per minute, making this fight with Holland very intriguing. In the grappling department, the 35-year-old is averaging 0.84 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 55% rate while defending 76% of opposing attempts.
While Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez don’t necessarily pop off the card as huge names in the sport, this fight has the potential to be very exciting, in my opinion. Two great strikers who will likely throw their grappling games to the side and go toe-to-toe on the feet.
D-Rod’s giving up seven inches in reach to Holland (81” to 74”), but what he lacks in reach and height (2” to Holland), he makes up in strength and putting weight behind his shots. His path to victory seems like it’ll come by narrowing the distance and relying on his usual heavy output. I think Rodriguez has the power to knock Holland out, but it’s worth mentioning that the latter has never seen the back of his eyelids while fighting in the UFC. Ultimately, I think Rodriguez’s pace and striking volume will show up on the scorecards and lead to him getting his hand raised. I’m going to take a shot with the underdog in this catchweight bout.
Pick: Rodriguez Moneyline (+170 via BetRivers)
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