EXCITING MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTENDERS
(#7) DEREK BRUNSON AND (#10) KEVIN HOLLAND BATTLE AT UFC® APEX
UFC® continues its run of events at UFC APEX with a thrilling middleweight contenders’ bout that will see No. 7 ranked Derek Brunson look to stop the momentum of rising No. 10 Kevin Holland. In a fascinating co-main event, No. 15 ranked lightweight contender Gregor Gillespie returns against surging former kickboxer Brad Riddell.
Perennial contender Brunson (21-7, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.) is coming off one of his most impressive performances to date, handing highly touted Edmen Shahbazyan his first professional loss in August via TKO. A NCAA Division II wrestler with KO power, Brunson has also earned KO wins over Lyoto Machida, Uriah Hall and Sam Alvey. Brunson now has his sights set on securing his fourth consecutive victory by turning back yet another rising contender.
Holland (21-5, fighting out of Fort Worth, Texas) hopes to continue the momentum of his historic 2020 campaign, which saw him become the first middleweight in UFC history to win five bouts inside a calendar year. A talented striker and grappler, Holland has netted spectacular KO wins against Jacare Souza, Charlie Ontiveros and Joaquin Buckley. Holland is now driven to pick up his sixth victory in a row to continue his ascent up the 185-pound ladder.
Gillespie (13-1, fighting out of Long Island, N.Y.) aims to remind fans he’s among the top lightweights in the world when he makes his first Octagon appearance since late 2019. A 2007 NCAA Division I wrestling champion, Gillespie’s crushing ground game has been on full display in stoppage victories against Yancy Medeiros, Vinc Pichel and Andrew Holbrook. Gillespie now looks for an emphatic return by becoming the first fighter to defeat Riddell in UFC.
Riddell (9-1, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand by way of Christchurch, New Zealand) has wasted little time since joining the world’s premiere MMA organization in 2019. A member of New Zealand’s famed City Kickboxing, Riddell has earned impressive wins against Alex da Silva, Magomed Mustafaev and Jamie Mullarkey. Riddell now hopes to keep his momentum going with another show-stealing performance to crack the lightweight top 15.
Additional bouts on the card include:
Hard-hitting heavyweights collide when Tai Tuivasa (11-3, fighting out of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia) faces Don’Tale Mayes (8-4, fighting out of Louisville, Ken.)
Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Adrian Yanez (12-3, fighting out of Houston, Texas) aims to deliver another spectacular KO when he faces Gustavo Lopez (12-5, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in a bantamweight bout
Song Kenan (15-5, fighting out of Beijing, China) faces Max Griffin (16-8, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) in a clash of entertaining welterweight strikers
Dana White’s Contender Series signee Cheyanne Buys (5-1, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) takes on fellow newcomer Montserrat Ruiz (9-1, fighting out of El Paso, Texas) in a women’s strawweight bout
Women’s bantamweight contenders battle when No. 9 Marion Reneau (9-6-1, fighting out of Visalia, Calif.) takes on No. 11 Macy Chiasson (7-1, fighting out of Dallas, Texas)
Streaking lightweights meet when Leonardo Santos (18-4-1, fighting out of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) goes for another impressive finish against Grant Dawson (16-1, fighting out of Lee’s Summit, Mo.)
Trevin Giles (13-2, fighting out of Houston, Texas) squares off with Roman Dolidze (8-0, fighting out of Batumi, Georgia) in an intriguing middleweight bout
Montel Jackson (9-2, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) meets newcomer Jesse Strader (5-1, fighting out of Lancaster, Calif.) in a battle of bantamweight prospects
No. 15 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Julia Avila (8-2, fighting out of Oklahoma City, Okla.) looks to defend her spot in the rankings against Julija Stoliarenko (9-5-1, fighting out of Kaunas, Lithuania)
Bruno Silva (10-5-2 1NC, fighting out of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil by way of Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil) hopes to return to the win column when he takes on Dana White’s Contender Series veteran JP Buys (9-2, fighting out of Dallas, Texas by way of Brakpan, Gauteng, South Africa) at flyweight
Johnny Eduardo (28-12, fighting out of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) faces Anthony Birchak (16-7, fighting out of Tucson, Ariz.) in an exciting bantamweight contest