BREAKING: Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm Makes Her Octagon Return Against Julianna Pena on May 8

Published 02/19/2021, 11:12 PM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 04: (R-L) Holly Holm punches Irene Aldana of Mexico in their women’s bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 04, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


The UFC announced a women’s bantamweight bout between former title challenger Holly Holm and surging contender Julianna Pena. The scrap is set for UFC Fight Night on May 8, however, the venue is largely unknown at this point. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto relayed that the bout announcement that comes in as a critical match-up to determine the next divisional title challenger.

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Amanda Nunes stands atop the women’s 135-pound division and has dispatched several contenders who have been placed as challengers. The top of the weight class is rather top-heavy, and the challengers are being cycled in at this point. However, new names are beginning to emerge as the Brazilian champion has taken care of the veterans thus far.

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UFC women’s bantamweight: Holly Holm vs Julianna Pena

The Preacher’s Daughter’ is on a two-fight win streak and has truly bounced back from her loss to Amanda Nunes from UFC 239. The 14-5 former champion last fought in October 2020 against Irene Aldana and showed an increased level of striking prowess. Additionally, Holm has elevated her offensive wrestling, and this is now a viable tool in her arsenal.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 04: (R-L) Irene Aldana of Mexico punches Holly Holm in their women’s bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 04, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Holm has remained elite over the last few years with her losses only coming to high-caliber former champions. Her experience as a boxer at the upper echelon of the game has given her the required skill set to topple several promising upstarts. Chiefly, she’ll have to be wary of Pena who’s heavy-handed and precise at 135-pounds.

‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ squares off

Julianna Pena is fresh off a win from UFC 257 where she defeated Sara McMann via RNC submission. She’s 2-2 in her last four outings with her losses coming to former champions as well. ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ has called out Amanda Nunes after her UFC 257 win and got a response from the champion.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 23: (R-L) Julianna Pena punches Sara McMann in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Julianna Pena is lethal in close range and she’s showcased a strong clinch game should the situation call for it. However, entering close range combat could be a considerable oversight, as Holm prefers to muscle her opponents against the cage. The bout is sure to decide a clear-cut contender and serves as an opportunity to showcase a worthy challenge for Nunes.

Who do you think will win?

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Darryl Pinto

1462 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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