A bantamweight matchup between former division champion, Holly ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holm and The Ultimate Fighter 18 victor, Julianna ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ Pena has been booked for a UFC Fight Night event on May 8th. — with a location or venue for the showcase yet to be determined by the promotion.
Currently sitting at #2 in the official 135-pound rankings, former titleholder, Holm has won two on the trot, most recently headlining UFC Fight Island 4 in October, knocking back the surging Irene Aldana in an impressive unanimous decision display.
Returning to the winner’s enclosure at UFC 257 in January, the #5 ranked, Pena stopped former title challenger, Sara McMann — finishing the Olympic silver medalist with a third round rear-naked choke. News of the intriguing matchup was first penned by ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto.
Claiming the undisputed bantamweight crown at UFC 193 in November of 2015, Holm scored a memorable second round high-kick knockout win over Ronda Rousey in a massive underdog victory. The longtime Jackson-Wink MMA trainee would go on to suffer three consecutive losses following her win over Rousey, before rebounding with another high-kick stoppage over Bethe Correia in 2017.
Besting former Invicta FC champion, Megan Anderson after unsuccessfully challenging for featherweight spoils against Cris Cyborg, Holm dropped her second bantamweight title challenge in a first round knockout defeat to two-weight world champion, Nunes.
Holm, 39, will make her thirteenth Octagon appearance since February of 2015 — hoping to add Pena to a winning-run which includes wins over the above mentioned, Aldana, and former title hopeful, Raquel Pennington — improving to 2-0 against the latter.
Washington native, Pena has amassed a 2-1 promotional record since her return to the UFC back in July of 2019. Matching with inaugural flyweight gold holder, Nicco Montano at UFC Fight Night Sacramento in her return, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt took home a unanimous decision win.
Seemingly on the cusp of her first promotional title tilt with a win over a contender like Holm, Pena claimed The Ultimate Fighter 18 tournament with a win over Jessica Rakoczy, before adding victories over Milana Dudieva, Jessica Eye, and former title challenger, Cat Zingano.