Holly Holm isn’t your typical UFC fighter.
The undefeated bantamweight star (9-0-0) entered the sport of mixed martial arts from a professional boxing background, giving her a set of skills not every opponent in UFC possesses at a championship level.
Holm must take a boxing-style approach when she steps into the octagon Saturday night in Australia for her UFC 193 match against a fighter many believe is unbeatable in Ronda Rousey (12-0-0).
Rousey’s fights typically are short, with the quickest being a 14-second TKO over Cat Zingano back in March. The current bantamweight title belt holder uses a punishing combination of punches and ground moves, often overpowering her opponent.
Holm must use the defensive skills learned in her boxing past to block or evade Rousey’s fury for as long as possible. But it won’t be easy.
Legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach isn’t optimistic of Holm’s chances.
“Holly was a good boxer; she beat some good fighters,” Roach said in an interview with SB Nation’s “MMA Fighting” blog. “Maybe they were a little bit older when she fought them, Mia St. John. She does have some good wins. She has 33 wins and maybe three losses. She has a good record. But the female boxing never really caught on like Ronda Rousey has. Ronda is just huge right now.
“The thing is, she knows the ground game so much better than boxing. I like Ronda to win that fight pretty easily. … She’s not the best boxer in the world, but she’s good. She’s very competitive and she tries really hard. I mean, it’s not probably the best thing she does, I think she is better at the ground game.
“But again, she is more experienced there. But her boxing is good. The girl she is fighting is a good boxer, also. While they stand up it will be a good fight, but once it goes to the ground, I think Ronda will destroy her.”
If Holm does decide to box in this match, she must be much more accurate than her current 28.09 percent rate. Going on the offensive and missing Rousey likely would be the mistake that costs her the match.
Holm also has a 100 percent success rate in takedowns defended, which shows she’s pretty good at keeping the match off the ground. That must continue in Saturday’s fight because, as Roach noted, Rousey will dominate on the ground, using her superior strength and grappling skills to secure another win.
Finding the blueprint to beat Rousey isn’t too hard for Holm. It’s executing the plan that’s the near-impossible task.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Silva/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Ronda Rousey UFC 193