The game passed him – Chiesa urged to retire, ‘avoid brain damage’ after UFC 291 loss

Veteran TUF alum Michael Chiesa is being advised to retire after his UFC 291 loss to Kevin Holland.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 2 months ago

UFC 291’s main card featured a welterweight bout between TUF 15 veteran Michael Chiesa and Kevin Holland. The fight didn’t go past the first round with Holland winning via brabo choke submission in the 2:39 mark. 

Now, “Big Mouth” is advising Chiesa to hang it up and stick to his other gig as one of the UFC’s desk analysts for ESPN. 

MMA: UFC 291 - Chiesa vs Holland Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) hugs Kevin Holland (blue gloves) after their fight during UFC 291 at Delta Center. Salt Lake City Delta Center Utah USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xJeffxSwingerx 20230729_szo_si8_0231
IMAGO | USA Today Network

Holland urges Chiesa to retire after UFC 291 loss

UFC 291 was the 35-year-old Chiesa’s first fight after a two-year layoff due to circumstances beyond his control. And for Holland, his opponent may have failed to evolve as a fighter, which resulted in Saturday night’s outcome. 

“The game has circled and passed him and seriously left him. Guys, you have to be realistic. People always talk about, ‘I wanna get a title, I wanna get a title.’ Let’s be real: some of you guys in the UFC, you’re never gonna get a f—ng title,” Holland told media members during his UFC 291 post-fight scrum. 

Chiesa began working as a desk analyst in 2018 at UFC Liverpool for FS1, and he’s been a regular fixture ever since. Holland is now advising “Maverick” to focus on his broadcast duties to avoid further damage brought on by their chosen profession. 

“Buy some jewelry like me. Retire, commentate, focus on your family. You’re never gonna get a title. And if that’s what you were here for, it’s not gonna happen. You’re already collecting a check by not getting hurt, so just stop,” Holland said of Chiesa. 

“You’re a really good commentator and there’s no reason to take brain damage. The next guy might be a little bit more dangerous than me, and he might not go for the submission. He might just keep pounding your head in. So just stop while you can.”

Holland points out one of Chiesa’s bad habits

Ahead of their UFC 291 main card fight, Holland saw a few holes in his opponent’s game. One of them, he says, is Chiesa’s habit of giving up the submission when put in a bad spot. 

“One thing about Chiesa is when he gets put in a very bad situation, it’s like he kind of gives up the submission. Maybe he feels like he can escape the submission then put you in a submission. Maybe that’s the case, maybe that’s exactly what he thinks. 

“Overall, he got submitted. Smart guy. Way to avoid brain damage. Every time he feels like he’s gonna get hurt, he gives up the submission and then you’re victorious. So, thanks.” 

Holland’s victory over Chiesa puts him on a two-fight win streak as he improves to a record of 25-9, with 1 NC. He also won a $50K bonus for Performance of the Night, his seventh post-fight bonus since entering the UFC in 2018. 

Chiesa’s run and record after UFC 291

Chiesa entered the UFC in 2012 via the Ultimate Fighter where he emerged as the season’s lightweight tournament winner. He carried on as a 155-pound fighter winning performance bonuses of his own before jumping up to welterweight in 2018. 

As a 170-pounder, he holds notable victories against fellow TUF standout Diego Sanchez, and former champions Carlos Condit and Rafael dos Anjos. However, he’s been on a winning drought since 2021. 

After UFC 291, Chiesa racked up three straight losses as he dropped to a record of 18-7. But despite the disappointing result, he says he’s not done just yet.

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.

Share this story

About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories