Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Marvin Vettori vs. Kevin Holland


If it seems like Kevin Holland is a familiar face, that's because he went five rounds in the main event less than three weeks ago against Derek Brunson. Holland lost a clear unanimous decision but will attempt to bounce back against a very different style of fighter in Marvin Vettori.

The middleweight division is still looking for clear contenders to take on current champion Israel Adesanya, and the winner of this matchup will certainly be in that mix.

Prelims start at noon ET on ESPN/ESPN+ and the main card begins at 3 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN+.

Odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

Middleweight main event: No. 6 Marvin Vettori (-330) vs. No. 10 Kevin Holland (+260)

Tale Of The Tape

Last fight weight class Middleweight Middleweight
Age 27 28
Height 72 75
Reach 74 81
Stance Southpaw Orthodox
Analyzed minutes 124 123
Stand-up striking offense
Total knockdown ratio (scored:received) 1:0 3:0
Distance knockdown rate 0.4% 1.6%
Head jab accuracy 34% 39%
Head power accuracy 38% 44%
Total stand-up strike ratio 1.0 1.3
Striking defense
Total head strike defense 77% 78%
Distance knockdown defense ("Chin") 100% 100%
Wrestling and grappling
TD attempts per min standing/clinch 0.24 0.28
Takedown accuracy 46% 53%
Advances per takedown/top control 1.2 1.3
Opponent takedown attempts 33 50
Takedown defense 79% 52%
Share of total ground time in control 72% 31%
Submission attempts per trip to ground 0.39 0.18
Seeing Holland's offense get completely nullified but the pressure wrestling of Brunson certainly provided a strong reality check for Holland's lofty self confidence. That could be driving the massive swing in odds we're seeing, with Holland going from a main event favorite in that fight to a massive underdog against a similarly ranked opponent just a few weeks later.

But the same ingredients are not in play here. Vettori uses wrestling sparingly and is all too willing to engage talented strikers on the feet. He has gone toe-to-toe with an accurate and evasive distance striker before in Adesanya, and Vettori remains one of the few fighters to win a round off of the current champ. Holland's rangy style that includes diverse kicks and unorthodox angles is similar to Adesanya, but is he really in the same class of skill?

This fight will provide a clear answer to that question. Holland's striking could be good enough to win when the threat of wrestling is minimal, even against the elite of the division. Or, now that the remedy for his style has been revealed, this fight could show that he may never be able to rise through the upper ranks of well-rounded opposition.

The numbers here lean Vettori to land enough points on the feet to keep it competitive there, and his remarkably durable chin will help buy him time to close the distance. The X-factor, then, will be whether he can also use position control to tilt rounds in his favor, though that also assumes his cardio can manage to outwork a more accurate striker. Regardless, as long as his chin gets him through the early attacks, he'll need some rounds to work out a winning strategy. That means there are some risky "ifs" in backing Vettori, and the steam on his price since opening doesn't feel justified.

Additionally, Holland's recent defeat could also motivate him for a more intelligent game plan to showcase his genuinely dangerous talents. The massive stock swing for Holland is understandable, especially since we backed Brunson against him as a 'dog and banked on Holland being a bit overrated. But they say "styles make fights," and Vettori's style is much more what Holland prefers, even if it's a short turnaround against yet another dangerous fighter.

E+ recommends: The lean is Vettori, but his price isn't worth it unless it drops back to where it opened or tightens further. If his price inflates any more, a small underdog play is warranted. Take over 1.5 rounds for parlays.

Best bets elsewhere on the card

The names in the co-main event may not be familiar to many MMA fans yet, but there could be a future contender among them. Arnold Allen (+115) and Sodiq Yusuff (-135) are already the 10th- and 11th-ranked welterweights, with a combined UFC record of 12-0. One of them will extend their streak in the hopes of taking on established top 10 competition next in the crowded division, even as both are likely still getting better as young, developing talents.

Though Yusuff opened as a clear favorite at -195, the market has tightened his line to just -135, with the possibility of seeing a near pick 'em matchup come fight night. That's because even on paper the matchup is a tight one. Both fighters are similarly strong in their offensive striking and have spent little time on their backs on the mat. But the underdog Allen has shown the better defense to date, with more efficient overall fighting while on the feet. Yusuff might be more willing to brawl, but Allen is more likely to use offensive wrestling.

Odds are likely to stay close, and the return on Allen is attractive.

E+ recommends: Money line play on Allen at plus money. Fight goes the distance.

For another value play, consider what should be a coin flip between Sam Alvey (+160) and Julian Marquez (-190). It will likely be a mostly standup affair, with Alvey having the more technical, albeit less aggressive and lower paced, striking output.

Alvey likes to counter his opponents, and his higher precision comes with a veteran's ability to find the chin of an opponent moving forward. At plus money, Alvey is worth a shot to either edge a close split decision or potentially get back to his chin-hunting ways for a TKO. And he doesn't have much choice, being winless in his last five outings. Hopefully, that motivates Alvey as an underdog trying to keep a roster spot.

E+ recommends: Money line lean on Alvey.