The women’s bantamweight championship will be up for grabs in the UFC 239 co-main event as Amanda Nunes makes the fourth defense of her crown.
Standing between Nunes and defense no. 4 is the legendary Holly Holm – a fighter who, despite playing a part in some of the most important fights in the division’s history, has lacked the consistency to really reach the potential many had held for her once she dethroned Ronda Rousey back at UFC 193.
With that being said, Holm is still very much a threat to the sitting champion and a phenomenal striker who will test her from the first bell to the fight’s conclusion.
There’s an incredible statistic doing the rounds at the moment showing the victories that Nunes has managed to pick up over the years.
She holds first-round stoppage wins over the five bantamweight or featherweight champions in the history of both the UFC and Bellator.
Cris Cyborg, Germaine de Randamie, Ronda Rousey, Julia Budd, and Miesha Tate all failed to last a round in there with The Lioness, which would be an incredible resumé in itself before you got around to adding the likes of Valentina Shevchenko, Raquel Pennington, and each of her other scalps in there.
Holm is no slouch in the resumé department but her UFC record of 5-4 contains within it several performances that are a cause for worry heading into this one.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she has fought anyone with the exact style of the champion but I’d be quick to note that she has lost out to fighters of a much lesser quality than Nunes.
Holm is no doubt the more decorated striker of the two, the one who should bring advantages from her days spent in boxing and kickboxing to the table but in terms of the standup arts within the confines of MMA, I’d argue that Nunes is the better striker.
The speed and power will both side with the Brazilian and I expect her to utilise both in a dominant display against the former strap-holder.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nunes dip into her wrestling game and take The Preacher’s Daughter down to the mat if the opportunity presents itself but for the most part, I can see this being a slow and methodical fight that will eventually see Amanda take over the fight’s momentum before scoring the finish.
I’m siding with the favourite here and I expect her to have little-to-no trouble in getting the job done in style.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes by second-round TKO.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena