36-Year-Old UFC Bantamweight 11-3-0
August 28, 2017 Holly Holm News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Holm remains "open" to the idea of taking on Cris Cyborg for the UFC Women's Featherweight Championship in December, ESPN's Brett Okamoto reports.
The proposed matchup would be arguably the most intriguing female fight the UFC can make in present day. Holm may have lost a shot at the belt when she was bested by Germaine de Randamie in the inaugural division championship, but that fight did not finish without controversy. De Randamie landed multiple shots after the bell, and the decision may have gone the other way had she been deducted a point. To make matters worse for de Randamie, she then refused to defend her title against Cyborg and was ultimately stripped of the belt. Holm is a fan favorite, and one of the few women on the planet willing and able to take on Cyborg. As a natural kick boxer, Holm's ability to land strikes at a distance and escape the clinch could be valuable against the most dangerous unarmed female on the planet. It would also land Holm, who turns 36 in October, one of the biggest paydays of her career.
Holly Holm: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a fight that had little going on prior to the finish. The two women spent the entirety of Round 1 and a good portion of Round 2 standing around doing nothing. Round 3 wasn't all that much better before Holm unloaded with a beautiful head kick that led to the finish. Holly followed up the kick with a few punches but Correia was already finished. It was a much needed win for Holm following three straight losses. Holly asked for a title shot (bantamweight or featherweight) after the win. That's not going to happen, but due to her marketability she is going to get another high-profile fight next time out. Perhaps Saturday's win will allow her to begin another winning streak. Holm, at age 35, doesn't have much room for error.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm has lost each of her last three bouts, but she will now return to the 135-pound class after failing to earn the belt at 145 pounds against Germaine de Randamie in her last fight. She attempted to appeal the decision -- claiming de Randamie landed multiple strikes after the bell -- but ultimately lost it. Both fighters are attempting to get back on track after stumbling in recent bouts, setting up for a solid five-round match.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm wasn't necessarily optimistic about the pending verdict during an interview on yesterday's episode of The MMA Hour, and that sentiment was confirmed Tuesday afternoon. The main issue at hand was the failure of referree Todd Anderson to deduct a point for several illegal strikes that were landed after the bell, but it doesn't seem as if the NYSAC believes there was any "clear error." Officially, her bout against Germaine de Randamie will stand as the third consecutive loss for the 35-year-old, former bantamweight champion.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm lost a unanimous decision to de Randamie on Saturday night, falling 47-48 on each of the judges' scorecards. The decision was plagued with controversy, however, as de Randamie threw and landed strikes after the bell not just once, but at the end of rounds two and three. Had referee Todd Anderson correctly deducted a point, the fight could have very well ended in a draw. He also didn't give Holm much time to recover after the late strikes, which may have played a role in the results. This fight is a classic example of the need for more experienced referees in championship fights, though it was noted earlier this week that the UFC did sign off on the selection of Anderson. Holm may very well have a case in this appeal, though sorting things out with the New York State Athletic Commission will be a lengthy process.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm had her most success when she was able to force de Randamie up against the fence. She had more than eight minutes worth of clinch control time, but she scored with virtually no other offense. When the two women returned to the center of the octagon and engaged in a kickboxing match, Holly got whipped pretty good. While Holm was consistently on the balls of her feet trying to keep her opponent off balance, de Randamie easily walked her down during the striking exchanges between the two women. If Holly was a better grappler, she probably could have won this fight. She just didn't have the requisite set of skills to take advantage of de Randamie's weaknesses. Holm also fell victim to the incompetence of referee Todd Anderson at the end of Rounds 2 and 3 when de Randamie landed strikes after the bell rang. Had Anderson correctly deducted a point, this fight could have very well ended in a draw. As good as Holm is, she just doesn't have the all-around game to defeat the best fighters in the world. She'll also turn 36 years old in October, so it's unlikely she is ever going to get there, either.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm will fight at 145 pounds, aiming to become only the fourth fighter in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes. Holm has lost two consecutive fights since defeating Ronda Rousey for the 135-pound title in November 2015, but will look to turn it around against de Randamie, who is 3-1 in her UFC career, at UFC 208 on Feb 11.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm needed eight pins placed in her hand after she shattered her thumb during her most recent fight against Valentina Shevchenko on July 23. Although that injury seems to be in her past now, as she proves her health in the gym and hopes for a potential fight to come her way over the next few months.
Fantasy AnalysisHolms reportedly "shattered" the thumb during her fight with Valentina Shevchenko on July 23, and has been told to avoid using her hand for six weeks. "She had eight pins inserted into her hand," Fresquez later stated. He hopes the former bantamweight champion can fight again this year, but there's no guarantee that will happen. Having lost back-to-back fights since knocking out Ronda Rousey to obtain the title, she likely wants to get back on track as soon as possible.
Fantasy AnalysisIn the span of less than four months, Holm has gone from UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion to the loser of back-to-back fights. Holm got off to a quick start, dropping Shevchenko with a power shot midway through Round 1, but her output decreased in Round 2 and it was all downhill from there. Despite having a considerable size advantage, Holm was unable to control Shevchenko for any significant length of time and there were periods throughout the fight in which she had trouble getting off of her back when the smaller Shevchenko was on top of her. This was a risky fight for Holm to accept because she had zero to gain for a rankings perspective, and now that she has lost, she may fall out of the top-five completely. At age 34, it's entirely possible that Holm never fights for a UFC title again.
Fantasy AnalysisIt has been less than four months since Holm lost her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship to Miesha Tate, but this is a pivotal fight in her career. Holm struggled on the mat against the talented Tate and every opponent she faces from here on out figures to do all they can to avoid standing and trading with her. Holly hasn't been a pro MMA fighter for very long, but at age-34, she has a far shorter shelf-life than many of the other top women in the division. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it's imperative that she comes out on top on Saturday.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm is looking ahead quite a bit at this point, as she's already scheduled to face Valentine Shevchenko in a bantamweight matchup at UFC Chicago on July 23. That being said, a matchup between the woman who defeated Ronda Rousey and a famed knockout specialist in Cyborg would certainly be a big seller. Holm has apparently turned down a matchup with Cyborg in the past, as she had instead been hoping for an immediate rematch against current bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. Holm now wants to set the record straight for those accusing her of ducking Cyborg. Although Holm is open to the idea, Cyborg tweeted from her personal Twitter account Wednesday that she would only fight at the UFC catchweight of 140 pounds if she was matched up with Rousey or Tate. Otherwise, she intends to defend her featherweight championship at Invicta FC.
Fantasy AnalysisMany wondered what the next move for Holm would be after losing her first title defense to Miesha Tate back on March 5, but now UFC fans will know. Instead of getting the next shot at Ronda Rousey, who still doesn't appear to be ready to return, Holm will face the No. 9-ranked women's bantamweight contender. Holm and her team appear eager to rack up as much experience in the octagon as possible, regardless of the opponent. As is typical in a Holm fight, the former champion will likely have a distinct advantage if the fight stays on the feet, but if it goes to the ground, it will be another story.
Fantasy AnalysisAs expected, Holm dominated the striking exchanges on the feet, but she really struggled after being planted on her back. She was nearly submitted on numerous occasions in Round 2. Holm was almost certainly up 38-37 heading into the final round, but her inability to defend a deep shot from Tate resulted in her losing her belt in her first title defense. Holm was giving up a ton of high-level MMA experience to Tate and it showed in their exchanges on the ground. The concern all along had been Holm's game other than her striking. Her gas tank is elite and she is a terrific athlete, but it is hard to win in this sport with a one-dimensional game plan. The UFC's women's bantamweight division is suddenly a mess. Dana White and the UFC brass certainly have to be upset about the result. All of the sudden their dream rematch between Holm and Ronda Rousey has gone up in flames. Holm will always have a place in history as the first woman who defeated Rousey, but it's hard to see where she goes from here. There is little to no chance that she will get an immediate rematch.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm’s kickboxing skills in her win over Ronda Rousey looked so advanced that if she can even make minor incremental improvements in her game, she should be able to hold onto the belt for another couple of years. Holm has limited MMA experience, but you can’t achieve the success in the kickboxing world that she did without being a terrific athlete. It’s a very positive sign for her growth as an MMA fighter. Training with Greg Jackson and his elite team in her native New Mexico is another positive sign. She is well coached and we all know about her skills on the feet. Jackson came up with a brilliant game plan for the Rousey fight and there’s no reason to think that it won’t happen again.
Fantasy AnalysisWith the UFC being committed to giving Ronda Rousey time off and Holm wanting to get back into the octagon as soon as possible, this was really the only fight that made sense. Should Holm win, it's a near certainty that her next fight would be the rematch against Rousey. The Holm/Tate will serve as the co-main event on a card that will be headlined by a fight between Conor McGregor and Rafael dos Anjos. Holm is an early -350 betting favorite for the bout against Tate.
Fantasy AnalysisLess than a month ago, White told Holm that she would be facing Rousey, so you can see how quickly things change in the UFC. It seems to be a near certainty that Miesha Tate will get the title opportunity, although nothing official has been announced. White also stated that while Rousey has "some well-deserved time off, she will fight this year."
Fantasy AnalysisThis came on the heels of a report that Holm had interest in fighting Miesha Tate instead. It appears as if the UFC is leaning towards having the rematch at the landmark UFC 200 event on July 9 in Las Vegas, but nothing is official yet and likely won't be for quite some time. Despite her dominant effort to capture the title last month, Holm is currently listed as a +135 underdog for the rematch.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm handed Rousey her first professional loss at UFC 193 in what was a lopsided fight that ended in a second-round KO. Despite the dominating victory by Holm, Rousey's resume and overall popularity were fully expected to earn her a rematch at some point in 2016. Although White confirmed this will happen, he offered little in terms of a timeline for the said event. Rousey had already stated prior to UFC 193 that she would be taking some time off afterwards, and is dealing with a six-month medical suspension following the brutal knockout. When it's finally time for a rematch, Holm will likely turn to a similar stand-and-trade strategy that earned her a victory the first time around. Rousey will have to go back to the drawing board to generate a game plan that counters the vicious onslaught of the skilled kickboxer.
Fantasy AnalysisSimply put, it is one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. It is right alongside Matt Serra's stunning upset of Georges St. Pierre back in April 2007. Holm fought a perfect fight. You can't do it any better. Holly kept her distance and repeatedly connected with monster strikes as soon as Rousey moved forward. The one time the fight ended up on the ground, Holm was able to slip her way out and work her way back to the feet. The game plan that coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn came up with was perfect and Holm executed it flawlessly. This fight may have not gotten out of the first round if it wasn't for Rousey's ability to eat a ton of power shots from Holm. We all knew Holm was a world champion kickboxer, but the difference on the feet between the two women was stunning. Rousey may of just had an off night, but it was up to Holm to capitalize and she did just that. Holm's striking ability and elite cardio were the difference in this one. Ronda looked exhausted from the get go, while Holm looked relaxed and comfortable throughout. Knowing Rousey's competitive nature, she will probably ask for an immediate rematch, but that is another story for another day. Holm deserves all the credit in the world for pulling one of, if not the biggest upset in MMA history. Nights like this are what makes it such a great sport.
Fantasy AnalysisHolm really has nothing to lose in this fight (other than her health). No one really expects her to be competitive, let alone win. Even with arguably the best coach in MMA (Greg Jackson) in her corner, it's nearly impossible to think of any game plan that would make Holm successful in this fight. Holm will almost certainly try to turn this into a kickboxing match, and she will almost certainly be unsuccessful in her attempt to do so. At 34-years old and with just nine pro fights under her belt, Holm is going to be in for a long night Saturday.
Fantasy AnalysisThe change was made in hopes of selling 70,000-plus tickets for the outdoors stadium show in Melbourne. It's hard to see how this qualifies as positive news for Holm. Not that she would have been winning had the fight taken place in January as scheduled, but now she and coach Greg Jackson have almost two full months less to come up with some kind of game plan for the fight. The odds are already stacked heavily against Holm and this isn't going to help her chances.
Fantasy AnalysisWell, there's a surprise. Holm certainly isn't ready to fight Rousey (and she probably never will be), but it's not like she can turn down the opportunity. Holm has competed in two UFC fights against Raquel Pennington and Marion Reneau. She won them both via decision, but she looked like an average fighter in one of them and down right lackluster in the other. Coach Greg Jackson has a little over four months to come up with a game plan that will work for Holm. Jackson is one of the best coaches in the world, but his task here is monumental.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a much better effort by Holm than we saw in her UFC debut against Raquel Pennington in February, but she still didn't look dominant. Reneau foolishly stood in front of her for nearly the entire 15 minutes and the 18-time world boxing champion took advantage. The biggest concern surrounding Holm is that she has nothing in her arsenal other than strikes. She smartly avoided a ground battle against Reneau, but smarter fighters aren't going to allow Holm to box the entire time. It was a step in the right direction, but Holm hasn't shown anything yet to suggest she's a potential title contender.
Fantasy AnalysisIt will be Holm's second fight since joining the UFC. She won a split decision over Raquel Pennington at UFC 184 back in February. A lot is expected of Holm and it wasn't a very encouraging performance. She will need to be considerably better against Reneau.