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Monday Morning Hangover: What does the future hold for Holly Holm after latest defeat?

UFC Vegas 77 went down this past weekend (Sat., July 15, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Ottman Azaitar, who was stopped via technical knockout by Francisco Prado in the first round with some slick spinning stuff (see it again here). And Albert Duraev, who was submitted by Junyong Park (highlights). And, of course, Chelsea Chandler, who not only lost to Norma Dumont, but was roasted by Twitter for having a controller malfunction in the middle of their Featherweight fight.

But, which fighter is suffering from perhaps the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Holly Holm.

Coming into her headlining bout against Mayra Bueno Silva, Holm was one of the front-runners to fill one of the slots to compete for the vacant Bantamweight title left behind by Amanda Nunes, who retired earlier this year. All she had to do was get through Bueno Silva and her case would’ve been solid.

What “The Preacher’s Daughter” didn’t anticipate, however, was an opponent ready to break through to get her own share of the spotlight after flying under the radar for the majority of her career. And that’s just what Bueno Silva did after pulling off the huge upset courtesy of a rare ninja choke that Holm walked right into in the second round (highlights).

I’m not going as far as to say that this is the end for Holm, but let’s not turn a blind eye to what’s happening here. Holm — who will turn 42 in three months — has been fighting professionally for 20 years, and has been in wars in both the boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) world. That has to take a toll on the entire mind, body and spirit and eventually the athlete slows down a tad.

It’s normal — every experienced fighter goes through it (and worse).

The ex-boxing champ hasn’t won back-to-back fights in three years and is just 1-2 in her last three outings. Furthermore, she’s gone on record to say that she will only continue to fight as long as she feels she can contend for the belt. And, right now, that simply isn’t in the cards. If anything she is drifting further away and it will likely take a couple of highly-impressive wins to get back on track.

As far as what could realistically be next for Holm — who signed a new six-fight deal with UFC three months ago — it all depends on how she sees her future going. If she wants to try to get back into the championship conversation she can wait to see what happens between Ketlen Vieira and Pannie Kianzad. If Kianzad loses, then that fight makes sense since Vieira has a win over Holm. Or, she can always face the loser of Julianna Pena and Raquel Pennington, if that title fight gets made next.

If she wants to go on a revenge tour before she calls it a day, she can start with Miesha Tate, who ended her short-lived title reign at UFC 196 seven years ago. Both women have seen better days so why not pit together the two former champions against one another one last time?

For complete UFC Vegas 77: “Holm vs. Bueno Silva” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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