- Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm will return to the Octagon on May 8th.
- Holm will take of TUF 18 winner Juliana Pena in a non-title bout.
- Pena has won two out of her last three bouts inside the UFC Octagon.
Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm is scheduled to return to the Octagon in a non-title bout on May 8 against Juliana Pena.
The bout has yet to be formally announced by the UFC but both parties have reportedly agreed to the deal, sources told ESPN last Friday. The fight will be held at 135-pounds at a still to be determined location. Holm put together an impressive 2020 after she had fallen to hard times since losing the belt.
Holly Putting it Together
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) October 4, 2020
Since winning the UFC women’s bantamweight title with a shocking upset of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, Holly Holm has seen her fortunes turn downhill. She lost her belt to Miesha Tate in her next bout and went on to win just twice in seven fights. But with her career in jeopardy, she put things together back in 2020 with back to back victories over Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana.
The 39-year old from Albuquerque, New Mexico is a former multiple time women’s boxing world champion before transitioning to a career in MMA. Holm won the inaugural Legacy FC women’s bantamweight title before joining the UFC. She has an MMA record of 14-5 with eight knockouts.
After losing to Valentina Shevchenko in 2016, Holm moved up to featherweight and fought for the belt twice but lost both times, to Germaine De Randamie and Cris Cyborg. She then returned to the bantamweight division in 2019 and lost to Amanda Nunes for the title at UFC 239.
TUF 18 Winner
With less than two minutes left, @VenezuelanVixen locked up the choke and forced the tap 😤
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 24, 2021
Pena is the first woman to win at The Ultimate Fighter, winning season 18 in 2013. Known as the Venezuelan Vixen, she is 5-2 inside the UFC Octagon with her losses coming at the hands of former women’s featherweight champion Randamie and current UFC women’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko.
The Venezuelan Vixen took an indefinite leave of absence in 2017 due to pregnancy. After two years on the shelf, she returned in 2018.Now ranked 5th in the UFC women’s bantamweight division, Pena has won two out of her last three bouts.
In her most recent outing, she submitted veteran Sarah McMann at UFC 257 in Dubai last month. Despite her resume, Pena has not fought for a title in the UFC but a victory over Holm should put her in serious conversation.
Not Ready to Retire
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) October 3, 2020
Holm was seemingly on the brink of retirement before 2020 as even UFC President Dana White said that she should contemplate retirement after he downward spiral. But Holm insists that she wants to win the belt again before she retires.
The Preacher’s Daughter is currently ranked 2nd in the UFC women’s bantamweight division and with Amanda Nunes moving back and forth two divisions, there’s a chance she vacates one title or is forced to give up one of her belts. Either way, Holm should be right up there as the next bantamweight challenger.
But before Holm gets to a title shot, Juliana Pena stands in her way. The Venezuelan Vixen is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC and she has never been stopped inside the Octagon. Two of her losses were by submission but since Holm is primarily a striker, this match should be very interesting.