In two weeks, Holly Holm will turn 39. But Saturday, the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion made it clear she’s still got a lot of fight left in her system.
Holm (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) put on one of her most impressive performances in quite some time when she dominated Mexico’s Irene Aldana in the UFC on ESPN 16 main event.
The judges’ scores were 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45 for a unanimous decision. With the win, Holm has won consecutive fights for the first time since her legendary head kick knockout of Ronda Rousey made her 10-0. She’s also won three of her past four.
“I”m still very green – I’m learning,” Holm said in her post-fight interview. “I’m putting it all together.”
It didn’t take long for Holm to implement her game plan. She pushed forward and landed combos of four and five punches, frequently adding a leg kick as a punctuation mark. Aldana had to chase Holm, but never seemed to get untracked, as Holm always had the answer.
This continued into the second, but Holm added another wrinkle by implementing her wrestling game and scoring a pair of takedowns.
In the third, Aldana, who was in her first UFC main event, finally came out swinging, but this just made Holm switch levels and go for the takedown again. Holm got side control and worked for a Kimura, and not quite getting it, got top control and rained down ground-and-pound for a near-finish before Aldana escaped.
The last two rounds were a veteran’s clinic in how to fight when you know you’re up on the scorecards. Holm didn’t take any needless risks, but nor did she ever let Aldana get comfortable, as Aldana basically chased Holm and mostly ate counters and body kicks for her troubles. Holm landed her fourth and fifth takedowns of the fight in those respective rounds to round out her performance.
The win was the sixth decision victory for the Jackson’s MMA stalwart. Aldana has now dropped two of her past three.
The women’s bantamweight bout was the UFC on ESPN 16 main event at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It aired on ESPN following prelims on ESPN+.
Complete UFC on ESPN 16 results:
- Holly Holm def. Irene Aldana via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45)
- Carlos Felipe def. Yorgan De Castro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Germaine de Randamie def. Julianna Pena via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 3:25
- Kyler Phillips def. Cameron Else via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 0:44
- Dusko Todorovic def. Dequan Townsend via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:15
- Carlos Condit def. Court McGee via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Josh Culibao vs. Charles Jourdain declared split draw (30-27 Jourdain, 29-28 Culibao, 28-28)
- Nassourdine Imavov def. Jordan Williams via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
- Loma Lookboonmee def. Jinh Yu Frey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Casey Kenney def. Heili Alateng via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27)
- Luigi Vendramini def. Jessin Ayari via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:12