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Derek
Brunson
turned a deaf ear—two of them, in fact—to Kevin
Holland
’s antics.

The
Sanford MMA
export managed to drown out all the noise and do
what he does best, as he utilized takedowns, ground-and-pound and
positional control in capturing a unanimous decision over Holland
in the
UFC on ESPN 21
headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las
Vegas. Brunson carried all three scorecards: 49-45, 49-46 and
49-46.

Holland had the North Carolina native reeling with punches more
than once but failed to maintain a safe distance in their
exchanges. A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at the Division II
level, Brunson lured him into clinch range and cut off his escape
with takedowns. He executed six of them in all, piled up nearly 17
minutes of control time and outstruck Holland statistically in the
first, third and fourth rounds.

In the aftermath of UFC on ESPN “Brunson vs. Holland,” here are
four matches that ought to be made:

Derek
Brunson
vs. Darren
Till
Marvin
Vettori
winner:
Brunson may never set the world on
fire in name or in approach, but no one can argue with the results.
The Henri Hooft protégé has rattled off four straight victories
since he suffered back-to-back losses to Ronaldo
Souza
and Israel
Adesanya
in 2018, defeating Holland, Edmen
Shahbazyan
, Ian
Heinisch
and Elias
Theodorou
in succession. The 37-year-old followed his game plan
to perfection against Holland, poked holes in the proverbial dam
and let gravity due the rest. Brunson now has 13 wins as a UFC
middleweight, placing him third on the promotion’s all-time list at
185 pounds behind only Michael
Bisping
(16) and Anderson
Silva
(14). Till and Vettori are scheduled to lock horns in the
UFC on ABC 2 main event on April 10.

Max Griffin
vs. Carlos
Condit
:
The dangerous but frustratingly inconsistent
Griffin put his best foot forward in the welterweight co-feature,
as he wrecked Kenan Song
with a blistering two-punch combination. Song packed his bags 2:20
into Round 1. Griffin initially flashes his hyperaggressive side
before settling into a rhythm and picking apart the Phuket Top Team
representative. The former two-division West Coast Fighting
Championship titleholder at long last has some momentum behind him,
as he has posted consecutive victories for the first time since he
joined the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
roster in 2016. Condit last
competed UFC on ABC 1 in January, when the onetime
World Extreme Cagefighting
champion took a unanimous decision
from Matt
Brown
.

Adrian
Yanez
vs. Davey
Grant
:
Yanez looks like a potential star in the
making, though time will tell whether or not he can continue to
match the hype with results. He has had no issues doing so thus
far. Yanez, 27, improved to 2-0 in the UFC and climbed another rung
on the 135-pound ladder with his sensational one-punch knockout of
Gustavo
Lopez
in the third round of their bantamweight showcase. A
counter right hook drew it to a decisive close 27 seconds into
Round 3, gave the Metro Fight Club prospect a six-fight winning
streak and likely accelerated his rise through the ranks. A
finalist on Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Grant last
appeared at UFC Fight Night 187, where he punched out Jonathan
Martinez
on March 13.

Tai Tuivasa
vs. Chase
Sherman
Parker
Porter
winner:
An under-30 heavyweight with obvious
skills and the charisma to match, Tuivasa remains a valuable
commodity in mixed martial arts circles. The 28-year-old Australian
needed less than a minute to dismiss Harry
Hunsucker
in their heavyweight attraction, quieting “The
Hurricane” with a pair of clubbing right hands and follow-up
punches just 49 seconds into the first round. Tuivasa has
effectively righted his ship—he suffered consecutive losses to
Junior dos
Santos
, Blagoy
Ivanov
and Sergey
Spivak
between Dec. 1, 2018 and Oct. 5, 2019—as his rout of
Hunsucker followed a first-round knockout of Stefan
Struve
five months earlier. Sherman and Parker have been booked
opposite one another at UFC on ESPN 22 in April.


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