Holly Holm, a former professional boxing champion and world class kickboxer, had finite Mixed Martial Arts experience coming into this fight. She was still ranked as the 13th best Female Bantamweight — Pennington, an outstanding submission artist, was # 14.
Both have found success down entirely different paths of combat sports. Their meeting seemed like a genuine MMA fight, offering almost the diversity and variance of the early UFC. For WMMA, that was something to appreciate.
Holm’s kickboxing defined the fight from start to finish.
She landed one-two punch combinations back-to-back, and followed with some long high kicks to keep Pennington on the outside. “Rocky” Raquel could rarely cut off the cage, or do anything to subdue Holm’s offense.
In round three, down 2-0 in-stone, Pennington did land a few strikes that sent Holm backtracking. Still, she held strong and landed counter punches that did enough to hold back Pennington’s assault. The co-feature went the distance.
One irreverent scorer marked the 29-28 for Pennington, by some logic, while the other two put the fight in the books for Holly Holm (30-27, 29-28). She wins her UFC debut, and may be eying a top ten Bantamweight fighter next, and a title shot further on the horizon.