Kevin Holland had a stellar 2020, notching five UFC wins in just seven months during the pandemic-hit year.
However, 2021 has seen his lose two unanimous decisions to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori. Their gameplan to defeat “Big Mouth”? Take him down and hold him there. Repeatedly.
Wrestling has become a glaring weakness of Holland’s game and that has been recognised by last year’s breakout star himself.
Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion – and USA wrestling Olympian – Daniel Cormier, now a UFC commentator, offered Holland the opportunity to hone those skills with him and his team at American Kickboxing Academy.
If any gym could help Holland improve in that area, it’s AKA – the place that helped standout wrestlers Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Cain Velasquez achieve their goals of becoming UFC champions.
Holland took Cormier up on his offer, and “DC” shared video footage of Holland training with with him and his students.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 25, 2021
In an Instagram post, Cormier went on to say that Holland will be training with AKA today.
“I’m very proud of [Kevin Holland] for taking the first step,” Cormier wrote on Instagram. “Not only is he here he’s available and wants to work. He will wrestle again tomorrow then he will be at the greatest gym in the world [American Kickboxing Academy] with the guys.
“Acknowledging your issues then finding a way to deal with [them] takes a lot of maturity. His coaches at home are the best too, not trying to stop Kevin from trying to find better [sic], we can help him in his wrestling.
“[Travis Lutter] has always been the man and he is showing, by letting him come to train with me, that he is the type of coach you want – the type that puts the athlete first! Onward and upward young man! I can’t wait for you to shock [them] with some takedown defense next time you’re in there.”
Holland’s management told MMA Junkie that Big Mouth will continue on with his coach – and former UFC middleweight – Travis Lutter at his gym in Texas, but will go back-and-forth to work with Cormier and the AKA team when needed.
“He will be going back and forth to get in some work with DC and his crew out in San Jose,” Holland’s manager Oren Hodak said. “Texas will remain his main home base for training, just adding California and some work in Vegas at the PI.”
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