A new contender is needed at 135-pounds. With Holly Holm continuing to make another push toward the title, she next has to get by Julianna Pena.
Friday, ESPN broke the news that the former UFC bantamweight queen will do battle with The Ultimate Fighter season 18 winner in Pena on May 8. The location for the fight night event remains to be determined as does whether or not it is the main event.
“The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm (14-5) last competed on Fight Island in October. Headlining the event, Holm looked arguably better than ever as she fought off surging contender Irene Aldana en route to a dominant unanimous decision. The win put the former champ on her first winning streak since she first held a title in 2015. Since then, the Albuquerque native has gone 4-5 overall with four of those losses coming in title bouts.
Julianna Pena (10-4), on the other hand, just recently got back in the win column by defeating Sara McMann via a third-round rear-naked choke. The win at UFC 257 acted as a rebound for “The Venezuelan Vixen” after she was on the wrong end of a guillotine choke against Germaine de Randamie the prior October. Collectively, Pena is 2-1 since returning to action after a two-year hiatus that saw her become a mother. A win over Holly Holm puts her back on a winning streak of her own.
At UFC 259 on March 6, the bantamweight division’s current champion, Amanda Nunes, will defend her featherweight crown. Nunes’ last title defense at 135-pounds came at UFC 245 when she earned a decision over the aforementioned de Randamie. The winner of Holly Holm vs. Julianna Pena could very well jump the line.
The current lineup for the rest of the May 8 UFC Fight Night event can be seen below.
- Bantamweight – 135lbs: Holly Holm vs. Julianna Pena
- Flyweight -125lbs: Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ryan Benoit
- Featherweight – 145lbs: Ilia Topuria vs. Ľudovít Klein