UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Kevin Holland vs Darren Stewart

It’s hard not to catch ourselves looking forward to UFC 253 but it’s inevitable.

The matchup between UFC Middleweight World Champion Israel Adesanya and Brazil’s wrecking machine, Paulo Costa, is one for the ages. I know we have had some pretty weak fight cards over the few weeks but now is not the time to look away.

I know the NBA and NHL playoffs are more compelling by the day not to mention the NFL regular season kicking off a week ago but this UFC Fight Night card is really good!

The main event is a grudge match from years ago involving former training partners who have completely trashed one another in the media before.

Both men have been outspoken, one much more than the other I must say, about the political divide in America and, of course, they are on completely opposite sides.

The storyline couldn’t get any better for Saturday’s main event. The fight on paper, though, is another story but today let’s look at one of my most confident picks of the night.

Darren The Dentist Stewart is a scrappy lad who most recently showed off his submission skills to the UFC brass and the fans when he choked out Maki Pitolo with a guillotine just over a month ago.

The London Shootfighter is tough, durable, and has mostly been fighting martial artists at or around his level of skill.

I think he is getting a decent step up in competition this Saturday night when Kevin The Trailblazer Holland will attempt to do his best Damian Lillard utilizing a 7-inch reach advantage and drill one from behind the arc.

Holland is the betting favorite and I believe that is warranted. Are his odds affordable, though, or should we start looking at some round totals?

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for the fight between Kevin Holland and Darren Stewart, 2 men with very easy to spell names. Let’s take into account the betting odds and make our prediction for the fight!

Kevin Holland (-250) vs Darren Stewart (+210)

Fight Goes To a Decision
Fight Does Not Go To a Decision

Kevin Holland has a much higher ceiling than Darren Stewart it appears, and it’s arguable that Holland is a level above his opponent from across the pond as well.

The Trailblazer is much more dynamic with his striking and grappling. When you watch him move, he is one of the most fluid fighters in the UFC’s Middleweight Division.

With that being said, Darren Stewart is pretty stiff. That isn’t always a bad thing. Those guys who are a bit more rigid than the rest of us carry a lot of power in their strikes.

Think Dan Henderson.

What’s harder to pick up and slam: a floppy old queen mattress, or a 30-year-old oak tree?

Holland may or may not be able to get this fight to the mat but I really don’t think he needs to.

Kevin, with his 7-inch reach advantage, should be able to jab and straight right his way to a decision win without too much issue.

Stewart is more of a counter striker who sits back and honestly, he is normally matched up with grapplers so he spends a lot of his time defending takedowns.

We have never really seen him pressing forward, cutting off the cage, and unloading on his opponents. That’s what it is probably going to take to defeat a fighter like Holland, though.

He is so good not only with his straight punches at range but his front kicks to the body stab… I love to throw that kick too and was doing it way before it became so popular.

It works. Let me tell you:

When it lands, your foot is still on its way up so the ball of the foot really digs in.

I knew I was hurting a lot of pro’s with it but never really understood the full effect until another tall skinny guy like myself strolled into the gym and stabbed me with his bony foot.

You see more and more fighters using it.

Every one that lands takes a little bit of wind from your sails.

Timing is everything here. You can get a lot of power on it when throwing it hard from your hip but that’s not necessary. You don’t even need the extension.

I will throw it more like a front kick to the face sometimes if I think I can sneak it in while at punching range without getting countered too hard.

If you can hit someone to the body as they are breathing in, you can potentially end the fight right there. It doesn’t need to be a hard shot, just quick.

Stewart is a good striker with good range and good power and good takedown defense. I don’t think his good is going to be good enough, though, on Saturday night against The Trailblazer.

In his UFC debut, Kevin Holland got former title challenger Thiago Santos and looking at the two men, it appeared that Santos could break Holland in half if he wanted to.

Kev went all three rounds with the monster and that had to be a massive confidence boost for the young man, although he is quite the competitor despite his relaxed and fun-loving nature inside the Octagon.

I’m not saying much about Darren Stewart but he is what he is. His potential route to victory is a puncher’s chance. I really believe that.

He is not going to take down Holland, control him on the ground, submit, or ground and pound him out.

Clipped on the feet? Sure but Holland has never been finished by strikes. He has fought heavier hitters than Stewart. It is possible but the question we must ask ourselves is: How possible?

The Dentist’s betting odds to win the fight of (+210) denote an implied probability of 32.6%.

If we think Stewart wins 4 out of 10 times should these two scrap that much under Saturday night’s hypothetical conditions, then he is worth a bet. I don’t see it.

I think he wins 2 out of 10 times to be honest with you.

Darren is limited in his skill set but not overly dangerous at his strength and that limits him even more. Okay, so no underdog today.

That’s fine.

How about the favorite?

Kevin Holland has current betting odds of (-250) to win. That denotes a 70% chance of victory.

  • We should cap him at 75 or 80% in order to have the edge we need on the online sportsbooks to make a smart play that along with other smart plays, will make us a profit in the long term.
  • We already said that Stewart wins 2 out of 10 so 80% for Holland gives us a 10% edge and I like to bet 1 unit for every 5% edge we have on the sportsbooks.
  • 1 unit is 1% of your bankroll and your bankroll should be completely separate from your checking or savings account.

You didn’t see the process today, but ideally, you always want to handicap or give the fight my own hypothetical betting lines before you see the actual betting odds released by the sportsbooks.

If I look at the real odds first, I naturally pick a side and bias can easily take over from there. We are humans and we should treat ourselves that way.

How many strong alcoholics outside of DiCaprio in The Departed do you know that go to the bar multiple times a week and order nothing but cranberry juice?

What is it, your period?” Such a good line.

My point here is not to put yourself behind the 8-ball every time. Don’t put yourself in a bad situation no matter how strong you feel.

I can sit here all day and tell myself that I am not going to be biased but my subconscious mind, like everyone else, is stronger than my conscious mind.

The second I heard about the signing of this fight on IG, I said I’m taking Holland even if he is a 3 to 1 favorite.

Stewart is a tough out so Kevin remained affordable so we make our play.

Holland doesn’t possess one-punch, fight-ending power in his hands but he is so sharp, precise, accurate, and fluid, that he has the ability to hurt guys with just one shot.

After that, Kevin is quite comfortable finishing his opponents with a variety of strikes or even a choke should that opportunity present itself.

I think Kevin Holland wins this fight wherever it goes and he will be a parlay piece for me as well.

My Pick
Kevin Holland

In Conclusion

These two fighters always show up ready to go and both will fight for your money until the end. That doesn’t mean this contest is a toss-up, though.

Kevin Holland has an extensive reach advantage of 7-inches. I know that’s not perfect English. Just think of it as my sad attempt at a play on words and leave it at that.

Point being: Holland is long in the legs and arms and he uses them very efficiently in his fights. The Dentist does have a chance to clip Kev but so does everyone in every fight.

Holland’s worst nightmare is going to be someone like Thiago Santos who I mentioned he went 3 rounds with in his UFC debut.

Also, a guy like Brendan Allen who is a strong wrestler with subs and sub defense both on a very high level. Well, Holland was back and forth with him until he got caught.

I like Darren Stewart but he doesn’t have big power, he doesn’t normally pressure his opponents, and he doesn’t have dominant wrestling.

Give me The Trailblazer for 2 units!

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.