UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus Betting Preview (Saturday, October 2)

UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus Betting Preview (Saturday, October 2) article feature image
Credit:

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Kevin Holland.

  • Middleweights Kevin Holland and Kyle Daukaus will meet in the co-main event of Saturday's UFC Fight Night event on ESPN+.
  • Both Holland and Daukaus are looking to get back in the win column after respective losses in the spring.
  • Erich Richter explains why there's value on this fight ending early.

Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus Odds

Holland Odds -154
Daukaus Odds +130
Over/Under 2.5 (-136 / +102)
Venue UFC APEX
Time Approx. 8:30 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN+
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-date MMA odds here.

The co-main event of UFC Vegas 39 pits Kevin Holland against Kyle Daukaus for one of the most-talked-about fights on the card.

Holland, nicknamed “Big Mouth”, is known for his controversial yet entertaining knockout-or-bust fight style. Daukaus, meanwhile, is the polar opposite, profiling as a high-volume striker with no wins by knockout.

Daukaus’ takedown skills — and Holland’s subsequent defense — will be the most important piece of this fight. Let’s dig into the subplots of this fight below.

Tale of the Tape

Holland Daukaus
Record 21-7 10-2
Avg. Fight Time 12:34 15:00
Height 6’3″ 6’3″
Weight (pounds) 185 lbs. 185 lbs.
Reach (inches) 81″ 76″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 11/5/92 2/27/93
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.74 3.23
SS Accuracy 54% 53%
SS Absorbed Per Min 2.33 2.72
SS Defense 56% 39%
Take Down Avg 0.92 1.75
TD Acc 45% 29%
TD Def 47% 85%
Submission Avg 0.6 1.2

Daukaus is not known as a grappler by any means, but his takedowns have been pretty solid during his career. He forces double under hooks at will and works to pin his opponents against the cage.

This should be something that Holland has worked on defending since it’s how Derek Brunson won their fight in March. If Holland did not correct his poor takedown defense against the cage, we will see another long night for “Big Mouth.”

Holland has been working with Johny Hendricks for the last six months to work on his wrestling. He believes that he is significantly better than before and prepared to stop any takedowns coming his direction.

I hesitate to think he will avoid all takedowns from Dauakus. However, even the slightest upgrade in his takedown defense gives Holland an innumerable edge thanks to his powerful striking.

There is no way to truly tell how much better Holland’s takedown defense will be, but his edge in the striking department is clear.

Holland profiles as the best striker that Daukaus has faced, which is concerning when we see Daukaus’ advanced striking statistics.

Overall, Daukaus’ striking defense is unnervingly bad at just 39% per UFC Stats. Conversely, Kevin Holland has the most total strikes landed of any active middleweight in the UFC.

The battle of styles should be extremely entertaining in this fight.

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Holland vs. Daukaus Pick

Holland vs. Daukaus opened as a -110 pick’em, but Holland has been bet up to -152. In previewing the fight, Holland said “it’s obvious what his strategy is against me,” referring to Daukaus likely utilizing his wrestling.

Daukaus intends on making this a boring three-round fight. Daukaus told MMA Junkie, “I am not going to force anything. … If I have to make it a boring three-round fight, I will make it a boring three-round fight.”

Holland’s last two opponents — Brunson and Marvin Vettori — are two of the best fighters at middleweight. Those two fighters were extremely careful with their entries against Holland and didn’t bother trying to land heavy strikes once he was down there.

This fight projects as a step down in competition to build Holland back up. He does not want to lose this fight or risk being forced to try to cut back down to welterweight.

Holland shouldn’t be overmatched in terms of size. If his takedown defense holds up, his chances of landing a finish increase drastically. Seventeen of Holland’s 21 finishes are by finish.

We are looking at a binary fight here. Holland by KO/TKO (+250) or Daukaus by decision (+220). I’ll take the much better athlete with scary power and (hopefully) improved takedown defense.

I would bet Holland to win this fight by KO/TKO down to +215 before I outright pass. Daukaus is likely worth a live bet after the first round if Holland’s takedown defense looks shaky.

The Pick: Kevin Holland by KO/TKO (+250, play to +215)

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