It wasn't planned this way, but UFC 184 features women's bantamweight bouts both in the main event and co-main event. Before Ronda Rousey fights Cat Zingano in her latest title defense, former world champion boxer Holly Holm (7-0) makes her Octagon debut vs. TUF 18's Raquel Pennington (5-4). Both fighters started competing in professional MMA within just the past four years, and the winner could see herself in a highly advantageous position as far as the title picture is concerned.
All of the hype surrounding Holm is centered around her accomplishments as a boxer as well as her barrage of finishes to start off her MMA career. Pennington will look to spoil the debut with a major upset at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The UFC 184 pay-per-view broadcast begins live at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with prelims on Fox Sports 1 airing at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
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How do these two stack up?
Holm: 33 years old | 5'8" | 70" reach
Pennington: 26 years old | 5'7" | 67.5" reach
How have these two done lately?
How did these two get here?
Holm was Ring Magazine's two-time women's boxer of the year a decade ago, and she compiled a boxing record of 32-2-3 with 9 wins by KO or TKO. Her pugilistic prowess was the intrigue behind her MMA career, with some fans feeling she would have the striking to defeat Ronda Rousey. So far, so good for Holm in MMA, as she's yet to lose and has shown strong finishing abilities with her kicking game instead of her hands. Holm is already ranked in the UFC's top 15, and she can move up the ladder with a win over Pennington.
Part of "Team Tate' on TUF 18, Pennington won Fight of the Season honors with her thrilling sudden victory unanimous decision over Jessamyn Duke in the quarterfinals. A loss to Jessica Racokzy eliminated her in the semifinals, but she proved victorious in her official UFC debut against veteran Roxanne Modafferi. Pennington dropped a split decision to aggressive striker Jessica Andrade, but rebounded with an incredible buzzer-beating 1st round bulldog choke of Ashlee Evans-Smith with 1 second left in the 1st round. Evans-Smith was a replacement opponent for Holm, who was injured and unable to compete at UFC 181, but now they're both healthy and ready to tangle in the UFC 184 co-main.
Why should you care?
Holm's UFC debut has been a long time coming and she is considered the best striker in the women's 135 lbs division right now. Wouldn't you want to see what all the hoopla is about? I know I would.