Her knockout win over Ronda Rousey in November 2015 will forever go down as both of the biggest upsets and knockouts in UFC history, but a loss for Holly Holm on January 18 could bring on a new legacy, an unwanted legacy.
Since defeating Rousey with that massive headkick which earned her the UFC women’s bantamweight title at UFC 193, Holm has been in a skid.
“The Preacher’s Daughter” has walked away with two victories in seven outings. Four of those five losses took place in a UFC title bout, which means that even if she pulls together a string of victories, Holm likely won’t see another title shot for a while.
She first surrendered the title to Miesha Tate before dropping decisions to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie.
Holm bounced back with another keadkick finish, this time over the Brazilian in Bethe Correia. With that win, Holm was granted a shot against Cris Cyborg. Ultimately she came up short on the scorecards and fell short of winning the featherweight title.
Megan Anderson was next in line for Holm at UFC 225. Unable to finish Anderson, Holm took the fight to the judges for a decision, getting the nod unanimously.
In her last outing at UFC 239, Holm was finished in the very first round, the first loss of that type in her carer.
Now Holm faces Raquel Pennington in a rematch at UFC 246.
The two women previously fought each other in 2015 with Holm winning a close split decision.
The latest odds for the fight show the women as near equals. Holm is listed as the -132 favorite, while Pennington is the +115 underdog.
Pennington enters the contest after winning a split decision victory over Irene Aldana in July.
While the two women have fought each other in the past, fans should expect an entirely different fight this time around.
Pennington has grown as a competitor, even defeating and retiring the woman who took Holm’s title in Miesha Tate. The ladies have common losses in de Randamie and Nunes, but one thing that may be the determining factor in this fight is, drive.
Who wants it more?
As stated before, Holm is a form champ, and she’s challenged for a title three more times since losing hers. She knows that another title shot is a long shot.
The former champion is still in peak physical condition, she just happens to be facing some of the very best the sport has to offer. But for how long and for what purpose? Holm is likely questioning how much longer she wants to compete and what her end state goal is. Does she want to fight just to fight, or will she chase that far off title hope once again?
Pennington on the other hand, has only been in one UFC title fight. Granted the loss to Amanda Nunes was really hard to watch, and Pennington was badly battered, but she is still relatively young in the sport and could go on to see another opportunity within a year or two.
At 31-years of age, Pennington is seven years younger than her opponent, but don’t look for age to be a determining factor in this fight.
The bottom line is the woman that wants it more will win. But if Holly Holm wants the fans to forget about the downward spiral since her title win more than four years ago, she needs to finish Raquel Pennington and do so impressively.
UFC 246 fight card:
Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone – 170 lbs
Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington – 135 lbs
Alexey Oleinik vs. Maurice Greene – 265 lbs
Cláudia Gadelha vs. Alexa Grasso – 115 lbs
Anthony Pettis vs. Diego Ferreira – 155 lbs
Maycee Barber vs. Roxanne Modafferi – 125 lbs
Andre Fili vs. Sodiq Yusuff – 145 lbs
Nasrat Haqparast vs. Drew Dober – 155 lbs
Chas Skelly vs. Grant Dawson – 145 lbs
Aleksa Camur vs. Justin Ledet – 205 lbs
Tim Elliott vs. Askar Askarov – 125 lbs
Ode Osbourne vs. Brian Kelleher – 135 lbs
Sabina Mazo vs. JJ Aldrich – 125 lbs
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