MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the co-main event of UFC 239, a five-round women’s bantamweight title bout between champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Holly Holm. The event takes place this Saturday, July 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Amanda Nunes (-340)
Nunes (17-4) is the UFC women’s bantamweight champion and the UFC women’s featherweight champion. The 31-year-old Brazilian holds an overall record of 10-1 in the UFC with notable wins over Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie. Her lone loss in the UFC came to Cat Zingano. Nunes is an incredible fighter who is in her prime right now. She is riding an eight-fight win streak at the moment and looks better and better every time she steps into the Octagon. She is an extremely aggressive fighter with legitimate knockout power and she has a solid ground game as well. She also has improved cardio and has proven she can go the full 25 minutes. Nunes is a special talent and is on track to be in the UFC Hall of Fame one day. She is a two-division champ in the UFC and is competing at 135lbs in this fight against Holm in an effort to arguably clean out the division before she decides what’s next for her in her career. She’s arguably the greatest female MMA fighter of all time.
Holly Holm (+280)
Holm (12-4) is the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion. The 37-year-old American holds an overall record of 5-4 in the Octagon with notable wins over Ronda Rousey and Marion Reneau. But she’s also lost fights against Cyborg, Shevchenko, Tate and de Randamie. Holm comes from a striking background and her best performances in the UFC came when she was able to use her standup to get the better of her opponents. The highlight of her career was the KO over Rousey in 2015 that shocked the world, but since then Holm has gone just 2-4 and has struggled with consistency. She’s one of the older fighters in the division at this point and appears to be on a decline. She did beat Megan Anderson in her last fight and showed off an improved wrestling game, but otherwise she has been getting beaten to the punch in a lot of her recent fights. Holm is always dangerous because she possesses legitimate KO power, but it’s likely that she’s already seen her best days. Having said that, in a shallow division where Nunes has beaten most of the other top contenders Holm is one of the few fresh matchups for the champion. She’ll look to shock the world once again, but as the odds indicate she has an upward hill to climb here.
Fight Breakdown: Nunes has been fighting at a very high level as of late and it’s hard to see her losing anytime soon, even against a technical striker like Holm. Nunes has just so much knockout power and is so fast with her strikes that standing with her is just asking for trouble. Nunes also has the better ground game in this fight, making it a tough stylistic matchup for Holm. Although Holm has always has a puncher’s chance, Nunes should have the upper hand in almost every facet of the game here, including the standup department which is Holm’s best attribute. With the way Nunes has been destroying her opponents, I just can’t see Holm hanging in there for more than a round or two. I think Nunes overwhelms Holm early on and finishes her with strikes to once again defend her UFC women’s bantamweight championship. After that, it will be interesting to see if she moves up to 145lbs, continues at 135lbs, or retires on top like GSP did.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes wins via TKO