UFC 256 Betting Pick: Jacare Souza vs Kevin Holland

Now, this is another excellent scrap that is hard to get a great read on but we have some value and we will get to that in just a second.

This is young vs old if we have ever seen it. Kevin The Trailblazer Holland just turned 28 years old and Jacare had a birthday this week that aged him to 41.

That is a massive gap and we have to take it into consideration. We also have to remember that Kevin Holland’s last fight was against Charlie Ontiveros, a martial artist that is nowhere near the UFC level.

How about Jacare, though? They’re probably giving him guys he can beat, right? Well, almost.

His last fight was against the current UFC Light Heavyweight World Champion, Jan Blachowicz. Jacare took him to a split decision, the 205 champ, and now he is moving back down to Middleweight to fight a guy who gets taken down a lot.

We can’t ignore that either. I know Kevin is improving at a rapid pace but it was just over a year ago when Alessio de Chirico, a non wrestler, took him down multiple times.

Ronaldo Jacare Souza is, of course, one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all-time when you consider how many world championships he won in the sport of BJJ to go along with an outstanding mixed martial arts career.

There are massive gaps everywhere in this fight. We have been talking up Jacare so let’s focus on speed. There is an area I couldn’t lie if I tried. Souza is slow. That’s all there is to it and Kevin Holland is fast.

The younger man will be the much longer and faster fighter in there.

Will Jacare be able to take him down, though?

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us. Let’s look at those and make a prediction for the Middleweight fight between Jacare Souza and Kevin Holland.

Kevin Holland (-110) vs Jacare Souza (-110)

Ronaldo Jacare Souza is no longer an underdog here. The betting line opened up with Kevin Holland as the (-175) betting favorite. I mean yea, I can see Holland keeping Jacare at range for a while and potentially hurting him with a punch.

I know Kev isn’t known to be a power puncher but he makes up for it with accuracy, precision, and timing. That length doesn’t hurt either. He will have 8 long inches over his foe, Jacare Souza.

Here is another factor to take into account. They will be in the small cage and this helps Souza tremendously. That is almost 20% less Octagon he will have to cover in order to clinch up with Kev and use his likely old man strength advantage over Holland to control him against the cage and likely get the takedown.

I really want to jump all over Holland here. I can’t lie. When the betting line had the Brazilian’s betting odds up at (+140) or so, I think that was a great play. A lot of sharps still have Souza as the value side at a pick’em.

That is showing zero respect for the sportsbooks who opened this thing up with Holland at (-175). That is a lot but another factor-the weight cut. I don’t think Holland will have too much trouble getting down there but Jacare…

It shouldn’t be too hard on him. He has only fought up at 205 a couple of times in his career and his most recent fight with the current champ was his first trip up to Light Heavy in a long time.

If Souza can get this fight to the mat a couple of times, I think that will be enough to get him the win. Holland could get Jacare with some combos and volume but I don’t really see him getting the finish unless that weight cut at 41 years old vastly affects the Brazilian’s chin.

We can’t count on that but it is certainly a possibility.

Let’s talk takedown defense. Darren Stewart was 3 for 8 on his attempts to get The Trailblazer to the mat and Stewart is from England…where they don’t wrestle that well. Before that, it was Brendan Allen who was 2 for 3 on his takedown attempts and got the rear naked choke finish in what was a back and forth fun fight.

Alessio de Chirico, an Italian from a country where they don’t wrestle so well was 2 for 4 on his attempts. Gerald Meerschaert-again-not a takedown guy and he gets Kevin Holland to the mat 6 times!

The Meerschaert fight was less than two years ago so how much could he have improved, really? Other fighters have taken him down since and if Jacare gets on top of him, he ain’t getting up.

I know Jacare is slow and doesn’t have the explosion but strength is strength, and there is no way you’re going to make me believe that Jacare Souza isn’t considerably stronger than Kevin Holland.

We tipped Jacare at the beginning of the week at (+140) so I’m not going to switch my pick but there is obviously less value now that he is at (-110).

Let’s see if we can find a prop worth betting on. If not, I still like Souza at (-110). Only Robert Whittaker and Gegard Mousasi were able to finish Jacare. He has never been subbed and only TKO’ed by these two men.

Rob and Mous both did it with a head kick. Holland is very tall and rangy. We haven’t seen much of a kicking game from him other than his stabbing front kicks. If he could throw a solid question mark kick after several ball of the foot stabs of those stabs to the body, he could catch Jacare with something tricky.

I think Holland is surely live to get the TKO but to kick, he is going to need space and I just don’t think the Brazilian legend is going to give him much of that. I see pressure pressure pressure.

Now, will that tire out Souza before it does Holland? We will see.

I like a small sprinkle on Holland by TKO here at (+450). The weight cut could really compromise the chin of Jacare and the head kick will be there if Kev can get some space.

Let’s put just half of a unit on Holland to win by TKO and then bet Jacare straight to get the win at the current line of (-110).

The Bets
Holland TKO

In Conclusion

The UFC really hooked us up with a good one here. I am very interested to see how this one plays out. What a massive gap in age, experience level, grappling chops, length, speed, and strength!

Please Note:
There are tons of variables to take into account with this matchup but let’s try to keep it simple. Kevin Holland gets taken down a lot. That’s all there is to it.

Maybe he goes out here against the rapidly aging Jacare Souza, pieces him up for three rounds, and possibly gets a stoppage after rocking his opponent with a knee or kick to the head.

I showed the dossier, though. Holland was taken down multiple times by the last 3 of 4 opponents that have made the attempt to get the fight to the mat.

Holland is a great athlete. He is so relaxed in there too almost to a fault. I know he is picking up the MMA game at a great rate still but we can’t ignore history, especially recent history.

I will take Souza to get the win here. I’m about 60/40 for the legend but Holland is so live at (+450) to get the TKO, that is worth a very small bet.

It will be very interesting also to see how Jacare looks at the weigh-in.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.