Holly Holm rolled over the outclassed Juliana Werner to become the first Legacy FC bantamweight women’s champion in Albuquerque last night. She battled through a broken left arm in the first round to win the title. With another easy looking victory more fans will be clamoring for her to fight Ronda Rousey next. That fight may happen one day but it will not be next for either fighter, nor should it be.
Right now Holm has one more fight left on her current Legacy contract and can be released to go to the UFC. So far her management and the UFC have been very far apart and it does not appear that she will be signed anytime soon.
That means one more fight for Legacy and then the smart move would be Invicta FC for her. She needs to face some better opponents to accurately judge where she is as a fighter and to build her stock up.
The undefeated record is nice and looks good to the casual fan but once you dig around a little you quickly realize she probably faces better competition in training at Jackson/Winklejohn’s than she does in her fights.Holm’s opponents are below .500 and she has not faced a fighter that has any chance of being a UFC bantamweight.
This latest fight with Werner is the best fighter she has fought in MMA to date. Werner entered the fight at 7-3 with two of those wins coming against flyweights. Three of her wins are against below .500 fighters. All three of her losses are to Vanessa Porto, who is a solid fighter and would possibly be in the UFC if they had a flyweight division for the women. In this fight, Werner herself looked like a flyweight compared to Holm.
In this fight, Werner provided a resilient opponent but she never threatened Holm despite breaking her arm in the first round. We have not seen Holm even challenged from a skill stand point yet much less in trouble in MMA. She did show tremendous heart and toughness battling through the broken arm to win the fight. That has never been in doubt about her. We still do not know how she responds to someone who can match her skills inside of the cage.
It will be hard for Legacy to find someone who can push her. Currently, most of the top bantamweights are signed to either the UFC or Invicta. With Invicta she would face some UFC caliber opponents for the first time in her career.
Right now there are three great fights for her at bantamweight awaiting her in Invicta. Sarah D’Alelio, Miriam Nakamoto and their champion Lauren Murphy. All three would test her and tell us if she is ready for Ronda. Right now you just do not really know.
Everyone is in a rush to put her in the octagon against Ronda except her. She, unlike many of the other would be challengers to Ronda, does not talk about her unless pushed. It makes more sense for her to fight the three above fighters first and see if she is ready for Ronda.
Unless she is just looking for one big payday for one big fight. Then she will just keep taking safe easy fights. Win a few more, rack up a nice record, get a big check to fight Ronda and then hope to get lucky.
To face D’Alelio, Nakamoto or Murphy would be the toughest fight of her career.
D’Alelio brings a strong grappling background that is bolstered by an emerging striking game. She has worked her striking with CSA and is now one of the best all around fighters at bantamweight. She would be the first fighter of this caliber with the ability to fight anywhere for Holm. This would make for a great fight and challenge for her.
The Nakamoto is one many fans want to see. Whenever Michael Schiavello refers to Holm as the best striker in women’s MMA I always think of Nakamoto. She would have legitimate claim to that title as well. A fight between them would answer that question definitively.
There is no doubt about Holm’s striking. Her kicks and punches are powerful and accurate. She throws almost everything as a part of a combination. Her striking is at the highest level. So is Nakamoto’s, who brings in an undefeated, multiple world championship Muay Thai background with her into the cage. This would bring the two best pure strikers together in what could be an epic classic.
This would be my personal favorite fight to see of the three. It might not really tell us too much about how ready she is for Ronda but would be a striking fan’s dream matchup.
The Murphy fight is the one that would tell us how ready she is for Ronda. Murphy is a well-rounded fighter that continues to evolve rapidly. One thing we have not seen Holm face is a fighter that will take her best shot and then get in her face and take her down. Murphy would do that much like she did in her title fight with Nakamoto. We would find out a lot about her ground game in a fight with Murphy.
A win against any of these three would be the best of her career and a win over all three would give her more leverage with the UFC. It would also make her then fight with Ronda legitimately bigger.
This was a nice win for Holm made more special by her battling through the broken arm. After she recovers it would be nice to see her face some better competition before she fights Ronda and that is why Invicta makes the most sense for her. A couple of wins there and the UFC would be more likely to pay her management’s steep asking price.
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