After former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm was denied a rematch with Miesha Tate following ‘Cupcake’s’ fifth-round submission win in their first match-up at March 5’s UFC 196, the fighting future of ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ was left up in the air a bit.
There was always the awaited rematch with Ronda Rousey, the dominant former champion whom Holm shockingly knocked out with a jaw-dropping head kick at last November’s UFC 193, and even though the match-up had obviously lost some luster since neither fighter holds the belt right now, it remained Holm’s most lucrative option.
But for Holm, a true fighter who (perhaps hastily) wanted to put her title on the line against Tate rather than wait an uncertain amount of time for Rousey to return, sitting on the sidelines didn’t seem an option. Former Rousey opponent Cat Zingano was also brought up as an option for ‘The Preacher’s Daughter,’ but when ‘Alpha’ signed on to face rising contender Julianna Pena at July 9’s UFC 200, that was ruled out as an option as well.
Tonight (Wed., May 4, 2016), however, news arrived on UFC Tonight that Holm is being targeted for a main event bout against No. 9-ranked contender Valentina Shevchenko at July 23’s UFC Chicago:
In the works for #UFCChicago: Gilbert Melendez vs. Edson Barboza, ‘Rumble’ Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira, Holly Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko
— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) May 5, 2016
The touted “Bullet'” just lost to current title contender Amanda Nunes at UFC 196. Prior to that, Shevchenko edged former Strikeforce champ Sarah Kaufman by split decision in her debut at last December’s UFC on FOX 17.
The rumored bout is a match tailor-made for 17-time world boxing champion Holm and decorated 56-2 Muay Thai fighter Shevchenko, who owns wins over women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in that sport. With both fighters’ ground games garnering recent criticism, this fight could be a perfect opportunity for both women to put on a show in their glaring area of strength.
The fight is reportedly slated to join a light heavyweight bout between top contenders Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Glover Teixeira, and also a lightweight bout between the rising Edson Barboza and returning veteran Gilbert Melendez.