Fight Study – December 12, 2020
Jacare Souza will face off against Kevin Holland in a fight that is very narrowly handicapped in the UFC’s middleweight division. Souza has the narrow edge with the oddsmakers but he is the less expensive fighter on both platforms on Saturday. He is priced at $8,000 on DraftKings and $14 on Fanduel. Holland is available for $8,200 and $17 respectively. This fight is scheduled for three rounds of fight action. The betting odds lean slightly in favor of this fight reaching an end before going the full fifteen minutes. Currently, this fight is a -125 favorite to conclude before reaching a decision.
Souza has 35 professional fights to his credit with a record of 26-8 and 1 no contest. He has 8 wins by KO/TKO, 14 wins by submission and 4 wins by decision. He has struggled of late going 2-4 over his last six fights. Most recently, he lost a five-round split decision to the current middleweight champion, Jan Blachowicz in November of last year. His is first and foremost a submission artist, but he is a competent striker with good power who can finish opponents on his feet as well. In order to defeat Holland on Saturday, he will need to rely on his grappling given the huge disparity in reach between this fighters. Souza is giving up two inches in height and nine inches in reach. Additionally, at 41-years-old, Souza is losing speed and will struggle in a stand-up fight against a striker of Holland’s caliber.
Holland is 20-5 as a professional with 10 wins by KO/TKO, 6 wins by submission and 4 wins by decision. He is very long and he will look to assert his 81″ reach on Saturday. He is currently on a four fight win streak with three TKO finishes over that span. He is a solid grappler, but figures to be at a disadvantage on the ground against Souza. In fact, of his 5 career losses, 2 have come by submission. It will be key for Holland to keep this fight at distance where Souza will be unable to land strikes. At distance, Holland should have a significant advantage and will be in no danger of submission. If Souza can step inside the pocket, however, his edge will disappear.
Holland will do his best to keep this fight upright and he will do his best to maintain distance. If he keeps Souza and the tip of his range, Holland can land jabs and kicks with impunity. This will force Souza to take damage trying to step into his much narrower range. Once in the pocket, Souza will be in good position to utilize both his power and initiate takedowns. If Souza takes this fight to the ground, he will be able to flip the tables and assert his edge in grappling. If this fight stays upright, however, Souza’s chances in this fight will be reduced greatly. Watch for Holland to keep his feet moving in order to limit Souza’s best weapons.
Although Holland is a slight favorite, he has the skill set to win this fight. He is quicker and much, much longer. I believe an upset (albeit a minor one) is coming in this fight. Souza is an aging fighter who has looked like a shadow of his former self in recent fights. Holland, on the other hand, is peaking and is 7-1 since losing to Thiago Santos in his UFC debut in 2018. I am surprised that Holland isn’t the betting favorite and I imagine Holland will want to prove that he should have been cast as the favorite in this fight. Souza is leaning heavily on his reputation here, and the public has bet him up to the favorite despite opening as the underdog. I think Holland gets the win here and he makes one of my favorite cash plays of the event. He is also a great GPP play, although I have some concern that his game plan will include a lot of movement which may reduce scoring. I will give Souza some exposure in 150-max tournaments, but will otherwise fade him entirely.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 256 on December 12.
UFC 256: FIGHT #4, Souza vs Holland
For Fight Study on UFC 256: FIGHT #3, Jandiroba vs Dern, click HERE.
For Fight Study on UFC 256: FIGHT #5, Gane vs Dos Santos, click HERE.