The UFC has finalized a big matchup in the women’s bantamweight division. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the promotion has finalized a matchup between former bantamweight champion, Holly Holm (14-5), and former Ultimate Fighter winner, Julianna Pena (10-4).
The fight will take place at a UFC Fight Night on May 8th. For Julianna Pena, she will be looking to pickup her second straight victory after getting choked out by Germaine de Randamie. Pena just fought at UFC 257 where she pulled off a submission victory over former title challenger, Sara McMann.
Of course, Pena made headlines with her callout after the fight. For some reason, Pena called out the UFC champion, Amanda Nunes, while suggesting that the champ had been ducking her. However, it’s worth noting that every time Pena has been in a title eliminator, she has lost.
Nevertheless, the callout fell on deaf ears because she was never going to get a title. However, she does get a big step up in competition and if she wins her next fight, it will be hard to deny her of a UFC title shot.
UFC title eliminator?
Pena isn’t getting a shot at the title next, but she is getting a crack at a former UFC champion. Holly Holm is one of the most decorated fighters in women’s combat sports. Holm is a former world champion in boxing and her career highlight came at UFC 193 when she knocked out Ronda Rousey to become UFC champion.
However, since that moment, Holm hasn’t been able to climb back to the top of the mountain. She lost her title in her first title defense to Miesha Tate. After that loss, she’s had three more shots at the title. Once at bantamweight and two shots at the title at featherweight. She came up short in all three attempts.
Holm defeated Raquel Pennington in early 2020 by decision, but the fight was not impressive. Many were wondering if Holm was past her prime. However, in her last performance, she looked better than ever. Holm took on the tough, Irene Aldana. She put on a clinic that night and almost got the finish.
It was a brilliant performance over five rounds by the former UFC champion. Now, Holm will go head-to-head with a hungry Julianna Pena. Considering where things are at in the bantamweight division, it would be difficult to deny the winner of the fight of a title shot. Perhaps Germaine de Randamie will get the next shot, but these two ladies are right behind that.