Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight kickboxers Holly Holm and Megan Anderson squared off last night (June 9, 2018) at UFC 225 inside the United Center in Chicago, Illinoise.
It’s amazing what one performance can do for a career. Holm has a few decent wins on her record, sure, but outside of the Ronda Rousey destruction, none of them could be considered both entertaining and impressive. Nevertheless, Holm remains a top contender years later, continuing to stay right near the top of two divisions. Meanwhile, Anderson is pretty much a top contender without any truly notable wins, so perhaps I shouldn’t criticize too heavily. This was a serious test for the Aussie, who left her Invicta FC title behind in the hopes of an eventual showdown with Cris Cyborg.
As expected, Anderson was aggressive to open the fight, and Holm looked to counter with his cross. It was clear before long, however, that Holm did not like exchanging with the far bigger women. Instead, Holm latched onto the clinch and jammed Anderson into the fence, mostly stalling but occasionally landing some decent knees to the legs.
When Anderson eventually escaped the fence, she went back on the offensive. Again, Holm was able to sting her foe with some counters, but Holm was far from comfortable on her feet with the Australian athlete. When Anderson kept advancing, Holm scored a takedown and controlled from top position to the bell.
It was uneventful, but Holm did win the opening frame.
Once more, Anderson opened by stalking with kicks, and Holm evaded until she was able to drive into the clinch. This time around, Anderson was able to break away from the fence far sooner. Though she pursued, Holm landed a couple good counter strikes — including a nice body kick — before countering a knee with a takedown.
From half guard, Holm began to hunt for the kimura. The submission did not land, but Holm was able to pass guard and land some heavy blows from side control. Holm next moved into the mount, where she briefly threatened an arm triangle. The choke did not work out either, but Holm landed some serious elbows when she released the hold.
Anderson needed a finish with five minutes remaining.
Holm showed more confidence to open the third, throwing a higher volume of kicks. When Anderson’s right hand got a bit too close to comfort, Hold resorted right back to the takedown attempt and drove her foe into the fence. From there, Holm smacked Anderson with some dirty boxing before muscling her down to the mat.
It didn’t take long for Holm to advance into mount once more. Unlike the previous round, Anderson was able to kick off the fence and return to her feet quickly. Back on their feet, Holm smacked Anderson with some left kicks then scored another takedown on her tiring foe.
Holm passed circles around her foe’s guard, did damage, and finished the fight threatening a guillotine choke.
Of all the potential outcomes, Holm winning a fight via grappling seemed one of the least likely. A couple years back, Holm attempted the same strategy opposite Germaine de Randamie, spending a lot of time holding the clinch and trying to force takedowns. She would work into good positions, but her lack of wrestling technique really cost her the fight, as Holm just could not complete the shot.
That was no problem this time. Holm’s actual shot was still a little awkward, but once she drove into the body lock, her clinch work was much improved. She got her hips in properly, allowing Holm to force Anderson to the mat.
It was genuine improvement, which is always nice to see, especially from a longtime veteran.
What’s next for Holm following her best victory in years? Probably a title shot in whatever division she would like. Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg are probably fighting next, but Holm has a reasonable claim to face either woman.
While it was a great win for “The Preacher’s Daughter,” it was also a loss that exposed Anderson. She looked dangerous offensively and is obviously a full-sized Featherweight — a pair of positives — but the rest of her game was abysmal. Anderson did little to resist takedown attempts or grappling transitions from a technical standpoint, essentially trying to force her way out of each bad position.
She’s lucky the Cyborg fight has yet to materialize. Realistically, her next opponent will be from the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter that features Featherweights.
Last night, Holly Holm out-wrestled her opponent to get back in the win column. Which division will Holm fight for a title in next?
For complete UFC 225: “Whittaker vs. Romero 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!