Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will be fighting Julianna Pena in a non-title bout in May. The event does not yet have an announced location or venue.
Fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holly, 39, will make her fourth straight appearance at 135 pounds, but she has also competed at 145 pounds.
Holm, 39, is riding a two-fight winning streak. Following a unanimous decision victory over Raquel Pennington in January 2020, Holm defeated Irene Aldana by unanimous decision this past October. Her only UFC losses have come to champions or future champions: Germaine de Randamie, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko, and Miesha Tate. Her last loss came in a bantamweight title fight against dual-weight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 239 in July 2019. Her past three losses have come with a championship on the line, going back to 2017.
Pena (10-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has won two of her most recent three outings. Pena (10-4) is coming off a submission win against former title challenger Sara McMann at UFC 257 last month in Abu Dhabi. Fighting out of Chicago, Pena is 2-1 in her past three appearances, with the loss coming against another former title challenger and featherweight champion in Germaine de Randamie. A win against Holm would catapult her into title contention at 135.
Holly somewhat is also eyeing retirement, but she would like to end her career by becoming a champion again. She stated that she wants to retire from MMA after winning the women’s bantamweight champion for the second time in her career.
While talking to the media before her last fight Holm said “My goal is to have the title,” Holm told reporters, at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 16 media day. “I want to retire with the title. I’m truly a big believer in the fact that, if you’re not trying to fight for a title, what are you fighting for? If you’re not trying to be No. 1, what are you fighting for? That’s the difference between somebody who just wants a participation ribbon and a gold medal. I’m always going for gold.”
Holly Holm will have to be cautious going into her fight with Pena, as another loss could truly spell the end. Although regaining the title is part of Holly’s grander plan, she said she’s not looking past her next fights.
With the addition, the UFC Fight Night lineup for May 8 includes:
- Donald Cerrone vs. Diego Sanchez
- Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ryan Benoit
- Holly Holm vs. Julianna Pena
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