By Adrienne Meehan, 6/11/18–Holly Holm defeated Megan Anderson Saturday night at UFC 225 by unanimous decision. Holm is well known for being the first person, male or female, to win championships in both MMA and boxing. She is considered one of the best female welterweight boxers in the world. However, during her bout with Anderson, Holm demonstrated skills in wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which she used to nullify Anderson’s 4 inch height and 2.5 inch reach advantage.
To prepare for her bout with Megan Anderson, Holm focused on studying her own game and patching any holes rather than analyzing Anderson’s fighting style. This strategy appeared to be successful and she garnered quite a compliment from Cris Cyborg, with Cyborg saying, “I think it was a great fight and Holly showed a lot of new skills that would make a rematch between us interesting.”
Rather than challenging Cyborg to a fight for the featherweight title, Holm expressed desire to drop back down to bantamweight and reclaim her title. Amanda Nunes, the current holder of the bantamweight title replied, “Let’s do it” via Twitter.
Holm has been boxing since she was 16 and is no stranger to fighting in multiple weight classes. She has held titles in three different weight classes in boxing, ranging from 140 to 154 lbs. She has held titles in light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight and has defended her title 16 times. Her boxing record is 33 wins, 2 losses. In 2011, she started fighting MMA and won her first 10 fights.
Holm was the first woman to defeat Ronda Rousey in professional MMA. In 2015, Holm defeated Rousey for the bantamweight title but then was toppled by Meisha Tate. Tate is known for her grappling and avoided engaging in a striking match with Holm, instead taking any opportunity to bring the fight to the ground. This strategy paid off, resulting in Tate winning by rear naked choke.
Her loss to Tate was followed by her losing three of her next four fights. Her most recent loss was to Cris Cyborg in December 2017. During the full five-round bout, Cyborg and Holm did not go to the ground once. Cyborg won by unanimous decision.
It appears Holm learned from her fight with Tate and has since developed a stronger ground game, which she used effectively against Anderson.
It will be interesting to see whether Holm continues to use a ground game in her next fights. Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg both are strong grapplers. Nunes defeated Tate in 2016 with a rear naked choke, the same submission Tate used to win against Holm just four months prior. Nunes has fought at both bantamweight and featherweight but intends to stay at bantamweight for the foreseeable future.
Cris Cyborg has only been defeated once in her professional MMA career. Seventeen of her 20 wins have been by knockout and three by decision. Cyborg has shown her striking to be effective against Holm, but she has yet to fight Nunes.
However the UFC decides to match up Holm, Nunes, and Cyborg, the fight should be worth watching.