Holly Holm into MMA, wants rousey

According to a Jan. 25 report from 1017theteam.com, three-division world champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (32-2-3, 9 KOs) is looking to make a transition to the MMA ranks in 2013, citing a lack of legitimate top-notch opponents in boxing.

Holmes’ promoter, Fresquez Productions, announced that Holm (2-0) would be in a Bellator MMA fight on Feb. 28th live from the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. “We’re not waiting around to fight anybody,” Fresquez noted. “Holly can be a world champion in MMA, too, but boxing is her first love. We can’t make Braekhus fight Holly. Unfortunately, the dilemma for Holly is that there just aren’t any big names left for her to box, at least those ready and willing to fight her.”

Holm, 31, has a kickboxing background, so a transition to MMA isn’t all that ridiculous. She already has two MMA bouts under her belt, and she won both by way of knockout.

Her lack of MMA fights is due to her concentration on boxing, which has been more lucrative.

Holm’s head trainer in boxing, Mike Winkeljohn, is one of the head coaches at the famed Jackson’s/Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Team Jackson-Winkeljohn is recognized as one of the best in MMA, featuring UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones, a training and sparring partner for Holm.

She also happens to be the same weight as Ronda Rousey, so jumping ship to the UFC’s 135-pound women’s division seems inevitable. Now that the world’s top MMA promotion has invested in developing women’s MMA, sticking to boxing may not be the most lucrative option anymore for Holm.

As for Rousey, who is slated to fight Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23 at UFC 157, she has a line of legit MMA bantamweights waiting in the wings, as Cat Zingano, Sara McMann, Alexis Davis and Miesha Tate are just a few of the names being thrown around as potential challengers.

There’s also the real very chance that Cris Santos will eventually get down to 135 pounds to fight Rousey in the UFC, so Holm at this point in time seems like a distant wild-card threat to the star judoka’s reign.

Tecia Torres UD3 Paige Van Zant

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First round went as expected. Torres’ speed ruled the day as her flurries caught Van Zant going backwards on numerous occasions. Torres’ overhand right simply could not miss its target and Van Zant is still too inexperienced to make the adjustment. Van Zant did manage to pin Torres against the cage on a few occasions and did her best to stifle and smother the quicker “Tornado”.

Round two’s start saw Torres again Van Zant with furious strieks. To Vanzant’s credit she stormed back and pursued Torres with reckless abandon. She pinned Torres against the cage and slammed her to the canvas with a nice hip toss. Torres lands in perfect position, however, to take Van Zant’s back. Van Zant is then caught in a rear naked choke for what must have felt like an eternity. Torres managed to only get her right arm under the chin of Van Zant. Van Zant miraculously fought her way out, got caught in an arm bar but again fought her way out and managed to get on top of Torres for a brief period. At the end of the round the two were back in stand up position and Torres’ blistering hand speed proved too much as she propelled herself into Van Zant and landed a Combo.

Van Zant closed the gap in round three and managed to ground Torres with a head toss. She could not maintain the advantage, however, as the fight returned to stand up. Torres again dominated the action with Supergirl punches. Van Zant’s hair gets caught in her eyes and it was apparent that it was effecting her defense as again, Torres couldn’t miss with her head strikes.

All three judges had it 30-27 for Torres.

Torres is a definite threat in the Strawight division. Van Zant has so much resolve will get better as time goes on. Both fighters have a lot of tenacity and grit.

Leslie Smith UD3 Racquel Pennington

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Good scrap. Pennington started fast and seemed to have a huge advantage in strength, at least in the first round. The opening stanza was fought at a very fast pace and this worked against Pennington. She appeared to lose steam in the second and Smith was then able to win the majority of the exchanges simply by being busier. Smith would pose, feint, then march forward with fists pumping in a straight line. The final round was close but again Smith won by superior volume punching and body language. She taunted Pennington numerous times, her arms out to her sides as if to say “come on, hit me”. Pennington’s follow up was meek while Smith slammed her with a kick to the liver. By fight’s end, Smith was the pursuer while Pennington sought solace with her back to the cage, clearly gassed and defeated.

 

Joanne Calderwood UD3 Livia Von Plettenberg

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Watching this fight was like watching a six year old pluck the wings off a fly. From the opening bell, Calderwood cooly stalked her opponent and broke her down with over and under Muay Thai strikes.

Von Plettenberg showed mad heart in surviving the fifteen minutes but was clearly on the way to being stopped. Granted, she took the fight against Calderwood with only eight days notice but she is clearly at a level below Calderwood in terms of skill and ability.

Calderwood utilized a vastly superior height and reach advantage and nailed Von Plettenberg numerous times with front kicks and straight rights. One of the commentators said it seemed like Calderwood was “hitting the mitts” against Von Plettenberg and this was an apt description. Calderwood’s performance was clinical and stoic while Von Plettenberg was badly overmatched.

Rola el Halabi vs. Lucia Morelli

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Rola el Halabi is a Lebanese/German National whose record stands at 11-0 with  6 knockouts. Her biggest victory or I should say her biggest name victory was a fifth round stoppage over Mia St. John. This is her first bout since being shot by her stepfather and former manager in a bizarre set of circumstances.

Morelli, on the other hand, is 17-3 with 8 knockouts. She loses only to the best. Her last bout against Delfine Persoon was like a Gatti-Ward fight among females.

Based on what little I’ve seen of each, el Halabi advances behind a high guard and employs a quick counter left hook as her primary weapon. She has fast hands and has an ability to fire her shots off between her opponent’s punches. Morelli also advances behind a high guard and uses an abnormally wide stance. Despite her powerful looking physique she doesn’t seem to get much leverage on her shots. She’s tough as nails though and her in your face posture can mentally fatigue lesser foes. 

The pick here is a tough one as el Halabi is coming off a long layoff and Morelli loses to only the best. We’ll find out if el Halabi is indeed one of the best if she can get past Morelli.

Irma Garcia upsets Janeth “Cuisilla” Perez

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Southpaw Irma Garcia (10-0-1, 1 ko) scored an upset decision victory over the previously undefeated Janet Perez to win the WBA Bantamweight title. Garcia troubled “Cuisilla” in the early going with a pesky jab and straight lefts but Perez seemed to win the majority of the rounds with sheer aggression. She nailed Garcia numerous times with an arcing left hook and in my view pulled the fight out in the later rounds. I scored it 6 rounds to 4 for Perez while the announcers had it 8 rounds to 2. Interesting though because I had given the majority of the early rounds to the more technical Garcia while the announcers had a shut out for Perez after four rounds. I thought they were a bit biased in favoring the more popular “Cuisilla” as well as having that Latin predisposition to favor the more aggressive fighter. I did think Perez closed the gap in the late rounds while the broadcasters gave Garcia two rounds that I thought she lost. Go figure. Official scores were 96-94 twice, and 97-93 all in favor of Garcia.

A heartbreaking loss for Cuisilla as she broke down in tears after the bout. The fight could have gone either way, really depends on what your bias is in terms of styles. Both fighters have long way to go in judging distance as both were highly inaccurate in placing their shots.

Garcia does have a contractual obligation to give Cuisilla a rematch. This could be a multiple fight series between the two as they were quite evenly matched.

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