Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight veterans Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington will rematch this Saturday (Jan. 18, 2020) at UFC 246 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Would it be wrong to spend the entire introduction whining about what a whack co-main event this is? UFC 246 is the return of Conor McGregor, likely among the biggest events of the year, and this is our co-main event? Random UFC Fight Nights that air at 2 a.m. ET and take place in cities without airports have better co-main events. At any rate, Holm has lost five of her last seven bouts, the most recent a title shot opposite Amanda Nunes. Meanwhile, Pennington managed to get back into the win column with a solid return-to-form performance (though still a split-decision) last time out, rebounding from a rough pair of losses.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Ronda Rousey (UFC 193), Raquel Pennington (UFC 184), Megan Anderson (UFC 225), Marion Reneau (UFC Fight Night 71)
Key Losses: Amanda Nunes (UFC 239), Cris Cyborg (UFC 219), Germaine de Randamie (UFC 208), Miesha Tate (UFC 196), Valentina Shevchenko (UFC on FOX 20)
Keys to Victory: Holly Holm brings with her a background as one of the sport’s most decorated boxers, but the genuine truth is that she doesn’t box all that much. She speared Rousey with some killer lefts, I’ll admit, but otherwise, the vast majority of Holm’s work has been done with kicks.
Luckily, that worked against Pennington the first time, and the two are roughly the same as ever. Pennington is a tough woman with solid boxing, wrestling, and conditioning. However, she’s not an amazing athlete, and in the first match, she had a lot of difficult closing the distance against Holm’s fleet feet and kick heavy approach.
If it ain’t broke ...
Perhaps the only change necessary would be an extra focus on low kicks. Pennington strikes like a boxer and does not like getting kicked in the leg, so a dedicated thigh-chopping would likely help Holm pull away.
Key Wins: Miesha Tate (UFC 205), Irene Aldana (UFC on ESPN 4), Jessica Andrade (UFC 189), Bethe Correira (UFC on FOX 19)
Key Losses: Amanda Nunes (UFC 224), Germaine de Randamie (UFC Fight Night 139), Holly Holm (UFC 184), Cat Zingano (Invicta FC 3), Jessica Andrade (UFC 171)
Keys to Victory: Despite my complaining, I genuinely like Pennington as a fighter. Despite limited athletic gifts, she makes the most of her abilities and has scored some big wins as a result. As mentioned above, Pennington is primarily a boxer who excels in the pocket and clinch.
The key to victory here is to really let her hands fly. When faced with a technically superior striker — such as Germaine de Randamie — Pennington has a really bad habit of trying to fight technically with the more decorated kickboxer. When that doesn’t work, she stops trying to strike and goes for clinch takedowns.
It hasn’t been a recipe for success.
Instead, Pennington needs to worry less about precision and more about punching Holm square in the mouth. Push forward, throw in combination, mix in a takedown attempt — the bottom line here is that being aggressive and making it an ugly fight will both benefit Pennington.
Holm gets a title shot either way!
I’m sort of kidding. Given how quickly Amanda Nunes was able to defend her strap against Holm, it seems unlikely that we’ll see a rematch without at least a few consecutive victories from “The Preacher’s Daughter.” Of course, if Nunes were to lose either of her titles at some point, Holm is right back in the mix.
The situation is similar for Pennington. Frankly, Nunes beat her so badly that it was actually uncomfortable to watch. No one is pushing for a rematch to say the least. Until “Lioness” is no longer the Bantamweight queen, Pennington is likely stuck as a highly-ranked contender who cannot earn a title shot.
Only one way to change that — win a lot!
At UFC 246, Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington will battle once again in the co-main event. Which woman will earn the nod this time?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 246 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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