All the talk leading up to the main UFC Fight Island 4 event was that Irene Aldana earned a title with a win, but Holly Holm had a lot to say about it.
Over the course of five rounds, the former bantamweight champion looked arguably better than she has in any fight since knocking out Ronda Rousey to win the title while Holm absolutely dominated every aspect of the fight against Aldana. From jab to grappling, Holm was great everywhere as he separated Aldana from first second to last.
The scorecards returned 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45, reflecting the unbalanced nature of Holm’s performance.
“I always say that I like to learn from my wins and not my losses because I learn every time,”
As much as Aldana wanted to be the attacker on Saturday night, she was struggling to cut the cage with Holm resuming her steps to time her combinations. Holm continued to throw a similar series of punches as he opened with a kick and then quickly punched Aldana with three or four quick punches.
While he wasn’t doing much damage, Holm was definitely checking the exchanges on his feet as Aldana couldn’t find her rhythm.
The same strategy continued to pay off with Holm clearly the most active fighter, putting together a game of surprising volume that kept Aldana guessing. Quick to her feet, the former bantamweight champion was forcing Aldana to chase her, which then allowed her to pick and choose times to unleash her combinations.
Holm even managed to shuffle a couple of takedowns, which began to pay off as the fight reached round three.
After putting Aldana on his back, Holm was looking for submissions, advancing into his position and then punching his opponent with punches.
Knowing she was down big in the scorecards, Aldana realized a finish was her only way to victory, but she couldn’t make it to Holm on her feet. Aldana was always on the hunt, which allowed Holm to separate her with a series of blows, including several hard side kicks to the body.
By the time the fight came to the final round, Holm was in complete control and it was clear that Aldana had been defeated with no real adjustment in an attempt to shift the momentum in her favor. With only a few seconds remaining, Holm unleashed a series of red-hot shots in an attempt to make it to the finish while emptying the tank one last time, but Aldana managed to survive.
By the time the fight was over, Holm had landed over 100 significant hits, which was far greater than any other performance he has had in the UFC.
Considering the way she won, Holm will no doubt be mentioned once again as a possible title contender, although a rematch against Germaine de Randamie might make more sense after both wins went on Saturday. For her part, Holm will be back at work awaiting news from the UFC on what’s to come next.
“I like to let the future fold,” said Holm. “I have a great team around me who care about this and I train.”