UFC on ABC 2 Report: Marvin Vettori dominates Kevin Holland

Originally published at UFC on ABC 2 Report: Marvin Vettori dominates Kevin Holland

UFC on ABC 2 Report: Marvin Vettori dominates Kevin Holland, sets a new UFC Middleweight record for takedowns in a fight

By: Eric Marcotte

After a rare week off, the UFC returned on Saturday afternoon with their second card on the ABC network, this time at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Notably, this event also marked the beginning of the UFC’s deal with Venum, and the fighters were outfitted with Venum gear throughout the card, marking the official end of the Reebok deal. The event was expected to be headlined by a middleweight bout between Marvin Vettori and Darren Till, but Till was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a broken collarbone just over a week ago. In his place, Kevin Holland stepped in to face Vettori, despite his loss to Derek Brunson just three weeks ago. Holland took a great deal of criticism after his loss to Brunson, and he was looking to silence his critics by getting back in the win column here. For Vettori, a win over Holland would mark five consecutive victories since his split decision loss to Israel Adesanya in April of 2018, and a rematch against the champion is naturally the fight that Vettori is hoping to build to. In the co-main event, Sodiq Yusuff faced Arnold Allen.

The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Dominick Cruz, and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses was awarded to Mackenzie Dern and Mateusz Gamrot. Fight of the Night honors was awarded to Sam Alvey and Julian Marquez.


*Impa Kasanganay def. Sasha Palatnikov by rear-naked choke 0:26 of Round 2

*Da Un Jung def. William Knight by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)

*Luis Saldana def. Jordan Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Jack Shore def. Hunter Azure by split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29)

*Jardis Danho def. Yorgan De Castro by KO at 3:02 of Round 1

*John Makdessi def. Ignacio Bahamondes by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

*Mateusz Gamrot def. Scott Holtzman by KO at 1:22 of Round 2

*Joe Solecki def. Jim Miller by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

*Daniel Rodriguez def. Mike Perry by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

*Mackenzie Dern def. Nina Nunes by armbar at 4:48 of Round 1

*Julian Marquez def. Sam Alvey by rear-naked choke at 2:07 of Round 2

*Sodiq Yusuff Arnold Allen by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Marvin Vettori def. Kevin Holland by unanimous decision (50-44 all)


Kasanganay landed a number of hard hooks early and took Palatnikov down with a body lock. Palatnikov worked his way back to his feet about halfway through the round, and he managed to defend Kasanganay’s next takedown attempt near the cage. Kasanganay landed a solid elbow as they broke from the clinch, and they exchanged heavy right hands as well. 10-9 Kasanganay.

Kasanganay was very aggressive to begin the second round, and he quickly got Palatnikov down. He grabbed hold of Palatnikov’s neck, and locked in a rear-naked choke, forcing Palatnikov to submit.

WINNER: Impa Kasanganay by rear-naked choke 0:26 of Round 2

Kasanganay really showed off his strength with the finish here, catching Palatnikov during a scramble, and sinching in the choke without even putting the hooks in. This was an impressive submission, and Kasanganay remains an entertaining prospect, now at 170lbs. With this win, Kasanganay improved to 2-1 in the UFC.


Knight began the fight with a series of leg kicks, but Jung put him on his back moments later. Jung smothered Knight on the ground for a couple of minutes, until Knight powered his way back to his feet. Unfortunately for Knight, Jung immediately brought him back to the ground, and he cut Knight open with some ground and pound strikes. 10-9 Jung.

Knight went back to the leg kicks to begin the second round, and he landed a powerful right hand as well. Jung went back to the wrestling and dragged Knight back to the ground near the cage. Jung transitioned to Knight’s back and flattened him out. Jung began to throw hooks to the side of the head, and Knight was bleeding heavily. Still, Knight managed to make it out of the round, although he looked rough heading back to his corner. 20-17 Jung.

Jung wasted no time in changing levels and taking Knight back down. He was working primarily from side control, and Knight didn’t have many answers for him at this point in the fight. The fight went the distance. 30-26 Jung.

WINNER: Da Un Jung by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)

This was a very one-sided fight. Knight had no answers for Jung’s wrestling, and Jung had very little interest in standing with Knight when there was such a discrepancy in skill on the ground. Jung is now 3-0-1 in the UFC with this win.


Saldana tagged Griffin early with a lead right hand. Saldana’s kicks were really having an effect on the lead leg of Jordan Griffin. Griffin was struggling with Saldana’s offense early, but he continued to pressure forward, and he landed a big 1-2 before he shot for a takedown that was ultimately defended. Griffin was beginning to put a hectic pace on Saldana, and he made up a lot of ground in the latter half of this round. Very close round. 10-9 Griffin.

Saldana slipped early in the second round, and Griffin jumped into his guard. Saldana went for a guillotine, and it looked tight, but Griffin escaped and they separated. Saldana went for a spinning elbow and Griffin changed levels, bringing him to the ground, and taking his back momentarily. Griffin went for a rear-naked choke late in the round, but he couldn’t finish it before time expired. 20-18 Griffin.

Both men appeared fatigued by the third round, and Saldana made the most out of the change of pace. While neither man was overly active on the feet, I thought Saldana landed the better strikes on the feet, and he controlled more of the action on the ground throughout the round, although Griffin ended the fight in a better position. It was a close round, but I gave it to Saldana. 29-28 Griffin.

WINNER: Luis Saldana by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

I thought Griffin deserved the nod from the judges here, but it was a very close fight, specifically the first and third rounds. Both fighters gave a good account of themselves here, and I thought this was a solid fight. This was Luis Saldana’s UFC debut, after a solid outing on the contender series last year.


They wrestled in the clinch against the cage early in the first, with Shore maintaining the dominant position for the large part. Azure did a good job of defending Shore’s takedowns, and when Shore tried to drag him to the ground, Azure found his way on top before they separated with a minute remaining in the round. Shore landed a strong counter right hand, and they exchanged body kicks. Shore connected with a head kick before the round concluded. 10-9 Shore.

Shore shot for a takedown, which Azure defended by attempting a guillotine, and while Azure was unable to finish the submission, he took Shore down and began to work from his guard. Shore picked himself up, and then a low blow in the clinch from Azure paused the action momentarily. They separated with a minute remaining in the round. Both men landed some solid shots in this final minute, and I thought a late straight right sealed the round for Azure.19-19.

Shore defended Azure’s first takedown attempt of the third round. He recorded a takedown of his own a minute later, and he attempted to take Azure’s back, but Azure worked his way back to his feet. Shore dragged him right back down and racked up another minute of control time. With about a minute left in the round, Azure worked his way on top, but Shore controlled the vast majority of the round, and I scored the fight 29-28 in his favor.

WINNER: Jack Shore by split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29)

The scorecards were all over the place for this one. I was surprised that a judge saw it for Azure, but some weigh the final image of a round far too heavily. Shore looked good here, and Azure kept the things competitive no matter where the fight went. Shore is now 3-0 in the UFC with this win.

YORGAN DE CASTRO (9-2, 261.5) VS JARJIS DANHO (5-1-1, 1 NC, 255.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT

Danho landed a number of leg kicks in the opening two minutes. Danho closed the distance and pressed De Castro against the cage momentarily, but a left hook from De Castro seemed to hurt Danho. He recovered quickly and took De Castro down, but De Castro popped right back up. Moments later, Danho landed a powerful right hook to the temple, and De Castro went down hard, unconscious.

WINNER: Jardis Danho by KO at 3:02 of Round 1

Danho hadn’t fought since 2016, and he was a heavy underdog going into this fight. This was a huge highlight reel knockout to generate some hype for Danho after his lengthy layoff, and I thought he looked pretty good here. This was Danho’s first win since May of 2015, and his first win in the UFC.


Bahamondes missed weight by 0.75 lbs, and he was fined 20% of his purse.

Bahamondes was throwing a wide variety of strikes early, giving Makdessi a lot to think about. Makdessi hurt Bahamondes badly with a right hand, and he moved in to finish the fight against the cage. Bahamondes wrapped him up to relieve the pressure from Makdessi, but when they broke apart, Makdessi continued to pour it on. Bahamondes’ face was busted up, but he seemed to have largely recovered by the end of the round. 10-9 Makdessi.

Both Makdessi and Bahamondes were trading strikes in the opening half of the second round. They exchanged jabs and straight rights, and neither man was willing to give up much ground. Bahamondes loaded up for heavy shots more often than Makdessi, but Makdessi’s jab just seemed like it couldn’t miss. This was a very close round, but I thought Makdessi took it.

The pace of the third round mirrored that of the second. The striking numbers that were displayed on the broadcast were almost even, and the fight certainly felt that way. Bahamondes landed his best strikes of the fight in this round, but Makdessi ate them and continued to fire back. He began to put the pressure on Makdessi late in the round, and I thought he did enough to take this round, although I ultimately scored the fight as a whole 29-28 for John Makdessi.

WINNER: John Makdessi by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

This was a really entertaining fight. I thought Makdessi looked great here against Bahamondes, who was actually the betting favorite despite making his UFC debut on this card. Inactivity has cost Makdessi in the past, but it was not an issue at all here for him, because he never let up after hurting Bahamondes early. Makdessi is now 4-1 throughout these last five fights.


Gamrot was the busier fighter in this opening round. Holtzman looked as though he was waiting for a big knockout, and while he landed some heavy shots throughout the round, it hurt his activity. Gamrot got Holtzman to the ground late in the round, but Holtzman popped right back up. Gamrot landed a shot that hurt Holtzman momentarily, and Holtzman thought the blow was to the back of the head, although it appeared that was not the case.

Holtzman was loading up with these huge uppercuts, but he was just narrowly missing. Gamrot dropped Holtzman with a heavy right hand, and he immediately moved in for the kill, dropping following up right hands until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Mateusz Gamrot by KO at 1:22 of Round 2

Gamrot looked great here, and his right hand was his best weapon throughout the fight. This was a great highlight finish for Gamrot after dropping his UFC debut by split decision last year. For Holtzman, this was a tough loss, and it feels as though he’s had trouble building any sustained momentum. Holtzman is now 7-5 in the UFC with this loss.

JIM MILLER (32-15, 1 NC, 155.5) VS JOE SOLECKI (10-2, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT

This marked Miller’s 37th fight in the UFC, building on his all-time record.

Solecki tagged Miller with some solid shots in the opening minute. Miller threw a number of low kicks, and occasionally flurried forward with hooks. Miller took Solecki down (or to be more accurate, Solecki appeared to pull guard) and he began to work from the guard of Solecki. He smothered Solecki on the ground near the cage, and controlled the final two minutes of the round. 10-9 Miller.

In the second round, it was Solecki who gained the upper hand on the ground, taking Miller down early. While he wasn’t terribly active, Miller was unable to escape the position, and Solecki spent almost the entirety of the round on top in Miller’s guard. 19-19.

Miller defended Solecki’s first takedown attempt of the round but soon found himself on his back. Solecki peppered Miller with strikes, avoided a stand-up, and maintained top position until the fight’s conclusion. 29-28 Solecki.

WINNER: Joe Solecki by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

After an exciting opening, this was a rather dull fight. Solecki clearly won the final two rounds but was unable to really advance position or do any significant damage. Miller was unable to get back to his feet, or even improve his position after being taken down, which definitely made for a rough night for the UFC veteran. Solecki is now 3-0 in the UFC.

The main card began with a graphic in memory of DMX, who passed away at the age of 50 on Friday.


After a fairly even start to the fight, Rodriguez hurt Perry with a big 1-2 in the opening half of the round. He didn’t go crazy trying to finish Perry though, instead, Rodriguez continued to just pick away at him with straight lefts and solid leg kicks. Perry decided to take the fight to the ground, and while Rodriguez threatened a guillotine, Perry moved to the opposite side of Rodriguez, relieving the pressure. Perry rode the remainder of the round out in half guard. 10-9 Rodriguez.

They exchanged body kicks in the opening minute of the second round. Rodriguez continued to have the edge on the feet, but Perry decided to take the fight to the ground much quicker this time. Rodriguez didn’t stay down long, however, and he landed a left hand as well as an uppercut after returning to the feet. A right hook from Rodriguez cut Perry open, and this fight was getting pretty one-sided on the feet. 20-18 Rodriguez.

Rodriguez began the third round with a nice uppercut as Perry moved forward. The story of the fight had not changed much by the third round, as Rodriguez continued to dominate the fight on the feet. Perry’s face was really busted open, and Rodriguez just couldn’t miss with his left hand. They ended the round swinging, and this one went the distance. 30-27 Rodriguez.

WINNER: Daniel Rodriguez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

This fight was, by and large, a beatdown. Perry had nothing for Rodriguez on the feet, and Rodriguez just couldn’t miss with his left hand. Rodriguez has now compiled a record of 4-1 in the UFC, and he’s won ten of his last eleven fights. For Perry, this was another tough loss, and he has now fallen to 7-8 in the UFC.


Dern aggressively worked her way into the clinch, but Nunes shrugged her off. They exchanged strikes, and then Dern managed to catch Nunes off balance and took her down to the ground. Dern moved into half guard and proceeded to move into side control. From there, Dern transitioned to top mount, and she began to work for an armbar. With just over ten seconds remaining in the mount, she extended the arm, and Nunes was forced to submit.

WINNER: Mackenzie Dern by armbar at 4:48 of Round 1

I was somewhat surprised to see that Dern was the underdog going into this one, especially taking into account Nunes’s recent layoff. She made easy work of the fight once it went to the ground, and it’s an easy comparison, but a lot of her fights remind me a young Jacare Souza, just in terms of the level of difference in abilities once the fight inevitably goes to the ground. This was Dern’s fourth submission win in the UFC, tying her with Gillian Robertson for the most ever wins via submission among women in the promotion’s history, and she is now on a four-fight win streak.

SAM ALVEY (33-14-1, 1 NC, 186) VS JULIAN MARQUEZ (8-2, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Marquez attacked the body early. Alvey was fighting in his typical style, backing to the cage circling, and looking to counter. Marquez had Alvey hurt badly at one point, and Alvey sort of fell to his knees, but he picked himself back up quickly. Marquez kept on the attack, but Alvey was firing back enough to keep Marquez from getting too comfortable. He even backed Marquez up towards the end of the round with a counter shot, but I didn’t think it was enough to steal back the round. 10-9 Marquez.

Alvey tagged Marquez with a right hook in the opening minute of the second round. Marquez responded one of his own that wobbled Alvey, and a left hand dropped him. Marquez followed him to the ground with a number of right hands, and then he jumped to Alvey’s back and choked him unconscious.

WINNER: Julian Marquez by rear-naked choke at 2:07 of Round 2

The finish was pretty brutal here. Alvey probably could have been saved a bit of damage by the referee here, but it’s a tough job obviously. Marquez is now 3-1 in the UFC, and this was a pretty fun fight to market him on in the future. Alvey has now fallen to 0-5-1 throughout his last six fights, and one has to wonder if this will mark Alvey’s last fight in the UFC.


Allen took Yusuff down with a well-timed double leg, but Yusuff threatened a guillotine which allowed him to return to his feet. They exchanged some heavy hands, and Allen proceeded to drop Yusuff with a left hand. Yusuff popped right back up, but Allen took him down and began to rack up the control time as Yusuff attempted to create some separation near the cage. 10-9 Allen.

Yusuff was looking sharper on the feet in the second round, but a head kick from Allen rocked him badly. Yusuff did a good job of tying Allen up in the clinch, buying himself time to recover. The rest of the round was fairly even, largely spent battling in the clinch. I thought Allen’s head kick was the difference-maker in the round, and I had him up 20-18 going into the final round.

Yusuff defended an early takedown attempt from Allen in the third. He was loading up with some big strikes, and while that’s often a bad sign in fights, in this case, it was exactly what Yusuff needed to do to threaten a finish. Allen was doing his best to keep Yusuff engaged in the clinch, and he managed to wrap Yusuff up for enough of the round to largely keep Yusuff at bay. 29-28 Allen.

WINNER: Arnold Allen by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This was largely a close fight. Yusuff had the edge in activity, but the biggest moments of the first two rounds both belonged to Allen, and I agreed with the judge’s decision here. With this win, Allen has improved to 8-0 in the UFC, and he is now in sole possession of the longest active win streak at featherweight. In his post-fight interview, he seemed disappointed that he couldn’t find the finish, but I think it may be time to test him against a top ten opponent regardless. Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett both come to mind when I think about sensible next fights for Allen.


They did not touch gloves to begin the fight. Holland caught him with a flush kick that landed low in the opening seconds and got a hard warning from Herb Dean. When the action resumed, Holland tagged Vettori with a right hand and stopped a takedown attempt from Vettori. Holland began to talk as Vettori continued to pursue the takedown, and they separated momentarily. Vettori fought his way right back into the clinch, and he was successful on his next takedown attempt. Holland scrambled to his feet, and Vettori tagged him with a hard left. Close round, but 10-9 Vettori on my scorecard.

Holland began the second round with a hard right hand down the middle, and Vettori responded by taking Holland down near the cage. Vettori smothered Holland for almost the entirety of the round, and he stayed busy enough with his ground and pound, clearly winning this round. Holland’s left eye was swelling up badly. 20-18 Vettori.

Holland was clearly having a ton of trouble seeing out of his left eye, and Vettori wasted no time in bringing him right back to the ground. Vettori transitioned to an arm triangle, but he was unable to finish the submission, and Holland found his way back to his feet. Again, Holland’s vision was clearly impaired, and Vettori kept the pressure on him, giving Holland no room to get comfortable. Holland broke away and landed some good shots near the end of the round, but there wasn’t enough time for him to steal the round back. 30-27 Vettori.

Both fighters landed solid strikes in the opening seconds of the fourth round. Vettori dragged Holland back to the ground and began to work from half guard. Holland worked his way back to his feet but was immediately brought back down to the ground by Vettori. Vettori spent the remainder of the round on top. 40-36 Vettori.

Holland managed to hurt Vettori with a straight right hand early in the fifth round, but Vettori quickly wrapped Holland up and dragged him to the ground once again. This was Vettori’s 10th takedown of the fight, tying the UFC record at middleweight. Holland got back to his feet with a minute remaining in the round, but he was taken right back down as Vettori set the new middleweight record for takedowns in a fight. 50-45 Vettori.

WINNER: Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision (50-44 all)

If you saw Kevin Hollands fight against Derek Brunson from three weeks ago, then you might have thought the UFC was airing a re-run tonight. Holland had the clear advantage on the feet, but he just couldn’t keep it there, even when his opponent was rocked. To Vettori’s credit, he fought a strong fight against a dangerous middleweight in Kevin Holland on short notice, and depending on the result of next week’s main event, it’s not out of the question that Vettori finds himself challenging for the middleweight title next. He’s won five in a row since his split decision loss to Israel Adesanya, and the only other strong contender right now is Robert Whittaker, who will look to make his case for a rematch against Israel Adesanya when he faces Kelvin Gastelum next week. If not Adesanya, I think re-booking the fight against Darren Till would be a good move for the UFC.