Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Bohn

Kevin Holland explains how he’s fighting ‘Jacare’ Souza at UFC 256 after COVID-19 hiccup

Kevin Holland says he was never COVID-19 positive and that’s why he’s eligible to fight Ronaldo Souza at UFC 256.

Holland (20-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) was forced out of the UFC on ESPN 19 headliner vs. Jack Hermansson on Dec. 5 after he tested positive for coronavirus. Shortly thereafter, though, he was positioned into a middleweight matchup with “Jacare” (26-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) just seven days later.

How is this possible? Holland said it’s because of a false positive. Holland said he turned in multiple negative tests in the days around his original result, and that’s why the promotion was able to throw him back in.

“I’m not worried about anymore bad tests on my end,” Holland told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at UFC 256 virtual media day on Wednesday. “Somebody else’s end? I don’t know. But on my end, (I’m) healthy as an ox.”

After Holland was forced out of his first scheduled UFC headliner, he was replaced by Marvin Vettori against Hermansson. The pair put on one of the best five-rounds fights of the year, with Vettori getting his hand raised by unanimous decision. Despite that, Holland said he has no envy and is appreciative of still getting a chance to compete.

“It was never mine to begin with, so therefore it was never mine to cry about when it got taken away,” Holland said. “It was an opportunity that was presented to me and it was an opportunity that was taken away. Another opportunity has presented itself and I’m happy with the opportunities that I get.”

Holland said he did much of his revised training solo in his garage gym. It has him feeling prepared enough to beat Souza, who is one of the best middleweight in MMA history, when they meet at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The fight airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

Souza’s ground game is as dangerous as it gets, and his striking has caught up along the way. No matter where it goes, though, Holland said he’s comfortable.

“Whatever ‘Jacare’ brings to the table is perfectly fine,” Holland said. “When we’re talking about the striking aspect, I definitely have the advantage. When we’re talking about the fight overall, if I do things more technical, that might be my downfall. I think if I press fast-forward I might just run through ‘Jacare.'”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.