UFC on ESPN 42: Thompson vs. Holland Odds, Schedule, Predictions
The UFC heads to Orlando for the final UFC on ESPN card of 2022 as Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson takes on Kevin Holland in the main event.
A former two-time welterweight championship challenger, Thompson makes his return to the Octagon for the first time in nearly a year. He is riding a two-fight skid and desperately could use a win at this late stage of his career.
Holland is also coming off a loss in his last fight, and a win over the No. 6-ranked fighter in the welterweight division would do wonders for his hopes to ascend to title contention.
Here's a look at the full slate and a preview of the top fights scheduled for Saturday night.
Fight Card, Schedule and Odds
Main Card (ESPN/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET)
- Stephen Thompson (+145; bet $100 to win $145) vs. Kevin Holland (-170; bet $170 to win $100)
- Bryan Barbarena (+430) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (-560)
- Matheus Nicolau (-365) vs. Matt Schnell (+300)
- Tai Tuivasa (+185) vs. Sergey Pavlovich (-215)
- Jack Hermansson (-195) vs. Roman Dolidze (+165)
- Eryk Anders (+180) vs. Kyle Daukaus (-210)
Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)
- Niko Price (-135) vs. Philip Rowe (+115)
- Angela Hill (+100) vs. Emily Ducote (-120)
- Clay Guida (+145) vs. Scott Holtzman (-170)
- Michael Johnson (+260) vs. Marc Diakiese (-315)
- Darren Elkins (+370) vs. Jonathan Pearce (-460)
- Tracy Cortez (-105) vs. Amanda Ribas (-115)
- Natan Levy (-200) vs. Genaro Valdez (+170)
- Marcelo Rojo (+135) vs. Francis Marshall (-155)
- Yazmin Jauregui (-305) vs. Istela Nunes (+255)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Thompson vs. Holland
The last time Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson was in the Octagon on Dec. 18, 2021, he was on the losing end of a unanimous decision against Belal Muhammad, who used his superior wrestling skills to control the fight. It was his second straight loss after Gilbert Burns employed a similar strategy to defeat him five months prior.
Kevin Holland also lost to a skilled wrestler in his last outing, falling to Khamzat Chimaev by first-round submission at UFC 279 this past September. Luckily for both Thompson and Holland, Saturday's matchup is unlikely to feature much wrestling.
Holland is a skilled striker and would like to keep things off the ground. However, Thompson's exceptional kickboxing skills give him an advantage on the feet. The 39-year-old has a unique striking style that has proved tough to solve for the majority of his opponents.
Holland has unmatched height and reach for the welterweight division at 6'3" and 81 inches. He is also a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so he could look to surprise Thompson by closing the distance and initiating some grappling exchanges.
All signs point to Saturday's main event being a test of striking skills. The 30-year-old Holland should be looking to make a statement against his highest-ranked opponent.
Prediction: Holland via fourth-round TKO
Nicolau vs. Schnell
A matchup between a pair of top-10 flyweights could go a long way toward producing the next title contender in the 125-pound division.
No. 6-ranked Matheus Nicolau is riding a five-fight win streak into his bout against No. 7 Matt Schnell, who is coming off back-to-back Fight of the Night performances.
This fight represents a contrast in styles, as Nicolau is known for his patient, grind-it-out fighting style. Six of his eight UFC wins have come by decision, including the last four.
Schnell, on the other hand, is known for his chaotic and action-packed fights. He is only 2-2-1 NC in his last five outings, but he has injected some new energy into the flyweight division and impressed with his aggression in the Octagon.
Both Nicolau and Schnell are looking to make a leap forward, so their fight could be a sleeper matchup that shouldn't be missed.
Prediction: Schnell via split decision
Tuivasa vs. Pavlovich
The biggest fight on the card from a physical standpoint is the only heavyweight matchup, as Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich will face off in a battle of top-five 265-pounders.
Tuivasa is coming off a third-round knockout loss to former heavyweight title challenger Ciryl Gane in a main-event matchup in September. Prior to that, he had won five straight fights by KO or TKO.
Pavlovich is on a four-fight win streak, with each victory coming by first-round KO or TKO. In fact, the 30-year-old has not seen the second round in six consecutive outings.
It can be expected that this matchup of heavy hitters won't last long. Both Tuivasa and Pavlovich possess one-punch knockout power, giving them the ability to end the fight at any time.
The only question that remains is: Who will connect first?
Prediction: Tuivasa via first-round TKO