Las Vegas – 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.
UFC Fight Night 188: Brunson vs Holland will take place Saturday, March 20 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The main card will air live at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on ESPN and will also be simulcast in English and Spanish on ESPN+. ESPN Deportes will also air the main event joining in progress at 11 p.m. ET. The prelims will kick off on ESPN+ and ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
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.
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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.
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.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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