A highly anticipated matchup in the UFC‘s women’s bantamweight division is off. We learned tonight that former bantamweight champion, Holly Holm (14-5), has sustained an injury and is out of her May matchup against Julianna Pena (10-4).
Holm had one of the best performances of her career last October on Fight Island. She looked better than ever and she appeared to be heading for another shot at the UFC bantamweight title.
To get that shot at the title, she was going to have to beat Pena. Pena is currently ranked sixth in the bantamweight division while Holm is ranked second. At this time, there are rumblings that the promotion might do something different with Pena, but this entire situation is fluid.
What will the UFC do?
Depending on the injury news, the UFC could always rebook this fight at a later date. If the injury is relatively mild and the fight can be pushed back to June, I could see the promotion moving in that direction.
However, if Holm is going to need more time, the promotion will likely look at different options for Julianna Pena. Pena has been very vocal about her desire to fight two-division champion, Amanda Nunes (21-4).
Nunes just defended her featherweight title at UFC 259. However, Pena has a steep uphill climb to convince the promotion to give her the next bantamweight title fight. The reason is because the number one ranked contender, Germaine de Randamie (10-4) just put her to sleep in October.
My guess is that De Randamie will likely get the next shot at the bantamweight title. Yes, she’s fought Nunes and lost twice already, but she’s the most deserving. You can’t give Pena that shot when she was just put to sleep by De Randamie.
I know she’s coming off of a loss, but perhaps a fight with Irene Aldana (12-6) could be next. Or even a shot against Aspen Ladd (9-1). Both contenders are ahead of Pena in the rankings and would make for quality opponents.