Cris Cyborg will defend her UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship for the first time this weekend at UFC 219. Cyborg will meet Holly Holm in the main event of the organization’s final pay-per-view of the year in what is sure to be an intriguing clash between two talented strikers.
Height: 5’8″ (173cm)
Reach: 69.0″ (175cm)
Cris Cyborg is most likely the best women’s mixed martial artist in the history of the sport.
Powerful, explosive, and extremely violent, Cyborg walks down her opponents before unloading wicked strikes to the head and body of her opponent. She has used this ‘walk them down’ strategy to overcome 18 opponents consecutively after losing her debut bout in 2005. Since (finally) arriving in the UFC, Cyborg has finished all three of her opponents via KO/TKO.
She dominated Leslie Smith before finishing her in just 81 seconds at UFC 198 and then backed up that performance with a second round ground and pound victory against Lina Lansberg. At UFC 214, Cyborg won the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship by smashing Tonya Evinger in the third round in July this year.
Height: 5’8″ (173cm)
Reach: 70.0″ (178cm)
Holly Holm, who will always be remembered for her stunning upset victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, will be competing for the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship for the second time when UFC 219 arrives. Holm faced off with Germaine de Randamie for the vacant title in February but lost a controversial unanimous decision. It was ‘controversial’ because Holm was attacked after the bell in the second and third round and a point should have been deducted from de Randamie. It wasn’t, however, and Holm later decided to go down in weight and challenge Bethe Correia at bantamweight. After a lackluster start to the contest, Holm pounded Correia with a devastating head kick to finish the fight in the third round.
The most exciting aspect of this contest is that both Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm are arguably facing their toughest test to date.
For Cris Cyborg, she hasn’t come up against someone with the same accolades as Holm and she represents a much greater test than Cyborg’s previous opponents in the UFC.
And for Holly Holm, she is coming up against someone who is rightfully deemed unstoppable as a mixed martial artist. No, this isn’t the same ‘unstoppable’ as people considered Ronda Rousey to be, rather Cyborg’s power, strength, and brutality is unmatched in the Octagon.
Let’s break it down.
Holly Holm’s advantages in this fight are much the same as any other; her effective footwork and defensive positioning are keys to stopping Cyborg. Holm floats around the Octagon and is often hard to trap against the cage. She will occasionally lead in with a right-hand jab and left-hand straight before finishing combinations with a kick, but this combination has continually become more obvious to opponents in recent bouts.
Now, Cyborg will be fully aware of Holm’s strengths. She won’t dare engage Holly Holm without first setting up her strikes, and rather she might use the same strategies that Germaine de Randamie used to defeat Holm. Cyborg might be willing to sit back and wait for Holm to walk forward with her 1-2 combination before planting her feet and answering with vicious strikes.
Most certainly, though, this will be a very patient championship bout. The respect for each other’s striking will see each fight carefully and pick the right shots. Cyborg will look to smother Holm and disallow her from circling away with ease. At the end of five rounds, Cyborg will have landed the more strikes while also landing with more power than Holm.
The prediction for this fight is a little unusual. Despite not going the distance since 2008, Cyborg might see the scorecards in this contest. Holm is patient and has the tendency to slow the fight down dramatically. We saw this against Correia and de Randamie, and this one has reason to be slower.
Prediction: Cris Cyborg by unanimous decision
Right now, Bovada are offering up a Total Rounds line of 1.5. That means, by betting on the fight making it to the third round or more is an option for bettors.
Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm
Total Rounds – Over 1.5
Saturday, December 30 – 11:50 pm (ET) / 4:50am (GMT)
Odds: -245 – Bovada