Holly Holm, the former undisputed UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, earned great fame when she became the first fighter to put an end to Ronda Rousey’s octagon invincibility with a vicious knockout. It was a moment that shocked the world and remains forever engraved in the history of great MMA moments.
A super hard worker, her nickname is “The Preacher’s Daughter” referring to her father’s profession, a preacher in the Church of Christ, New Mexico. This was the type of family mindset and discipline that Holly applied throughout her career.
At just 20 years of age, she won the national amateur kickboxing title. She then decided to try her hand at boxing, a much more lucrative sport. Very quickly, she established herself as a veritable queen of the welterweight division thanks to assets that have not let her down since, namely, speed, power and stamina.
In the mixed martial arts industry, Holly is known for her signature finish (a brutal head kick) where she scored four knockout wins this way among the 8 stoppage wins of her career (all by KO/TKO). That’s a pretty surprising signature move considering she was a former world champion in boxing.
Interestingly, “The Preacher’s Daughter” has Jon “Bones” Jones, the undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion, in her corner as training partner.
As mentioned, before becoming a spectacular MMA fighter, Holm was a former multi-time boxing champ. See one of her boxing career bouts below where she defended the IFBA welterweight title in 2008.
She fought in three different weight classes and achieved 18 title defenses in the sport with a record of 33 wins (9 by KO/TKO) with only 2 losses and 3 draws. She also practiced kickboxing in her sporting career garnering 8 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws.
We’ve compiled a short list reflecting Holm’s best, high-impact strikes, so follow on as we countdown Holly Holm’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
- Vs. Katie Merrill — Bellator 91 (Feb. 28, 2013)
- Vs. Nikki Knudsen — Legacy FC 24 (Oct. 11, 2013)
- Vs. Allanna Jones — Legacy FC 21 (Jul. 19, 2013)
- Vs. Juliana Werner — Legacy FC 30 (April 4, 2014)
- Vs. Ronda Rousey — UFC 193 (Nov. 15, 2015)
After two wins by TKO in a professional career debut, Holm stopped by at Scott Coker’s promotion. However, it was to be Holly’s only bout at Bellator MMA.
The first round was a back-and-forth exchange where both landed strikes and clinched against the fence to try and gain control.
Katie took center most the time, but Holly was a little bit more aggressive than her opponent.
The second round was similar to the first, with Merrill attempting a single leg takedown that was defended by Holm. Katie did however manage to shoot and score her takedown just before the end of the round.
A body shot on Katie however secured the win for Holm where she finished off proceedings with a flurry of ground and pound.
This was Holm’s fifth professional MMA career fight, going in with betting odds of -3000.
The first round began with clinches in standup, with Holm landing a powerful head kick, visibly shaking Nikki in the middle of the round.
“The Preacher’s Daughter” scored two further head kicks in the second round and a few seconds later landed a side kick on Knudsen.
Now clearly hurt, Nikki backed up to the fence and couldn’t survive Holm’s further onslaught of clinches, landing 5 knees and several punches. Referee, Aladin Martinez charged in to call the contest at 1 minute 18 seconds of the second round.
This bout signified Holly Holm’s fifth win by KO/TKO in as many fights.
This was the first head-kick knockout win of Holly Holm’s professional MMA career.
The first round was mainly in standup with Holly Holm receiving an eye poke in the second half of the round.
The second round was similar to the previous, but just before mid-round, Holm landed a jab followed by a rear-leg head kick. This dropped Jones out cold, as the referee rushed in to call the match.
This was the first time Holm fought for a belt in her MMA career, and this fight was also her last bout before she joined the UFC.
The fight went the distance, all 5 rounds, and was also the first time Holly reached the “championship” rounds (which starts at the 4th round of an MMA contest).
In the very first round, Holm unfortunately broke her arm. Now a one-sided fight, it nevertheless continued with Werner pressing on her obvious advantage.
In the fifth round, “The Preacher’s Daughter” landed a right hook and a left head kick which knocked Juliana down. Not able to protect herself anymore, the referee called the end to the main event.
This performance became the sixth win by knockout for Holly and the second by head kick.
Likely the most important performance and win in Holly Holm’s MMA career, at this point both female fighters were undefeated when they faced each other.
Rousey was, of course, the strong favourite to win and keep the belt, but on this day in Melbourne with 56,214 people in attendance, the athlete from Jackson Wink MMA Academy caused one of the biggest upsets in the world of sports combat.
Undefeated in her first 12 professional bouts, Ronda Rousey entered the octagon with strong confidence and started out well enough. You could see that she didn’t especially respect her opponent’s level of striking skill as a former professional boxer and kickboxer. Big mistake.
To Holm’s advantage in the stand-up and striking position, Ronda moved constantly forward towards Holm, getting countered several times. The bell rang, and Ronda Rousey lost the first round of her MMA career.
Despite obvious flaws in her strategy, Ronda started the second round exactly as she finished the previous one. Then, the unimaginable happened. After 40 seconds of action in the round, Holm landed a left straight punch, which knocked down the champion. Once she stood up, Rousey turned around only to receive an overpowering head kick from Holly Holm. This final strike, to the astonishment of the crowd, switched off Ronda’s lights.
Holm earned the undisputed UFC women’s bantamweight championship, as well as Performance and the Fight of the Night bonuses, her first awards in the big league. Incredible victory!