Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm Set for UFC 219

Holly Holm UFC 219
Credit: Dave Mandel/

It’s finally official. After months of rumors and negotiations with the UFC, former bantamweight champion Holly Holm meets the fearsome Cris Cyborg.

UFC 219, the promotion’s big year-end show, had lacked sparkle up to now. Specifically, it had lacked the glimmer of gold. That’s no more, as the promotion has announced that Cris Cyborg will defend her women’s featherweight title on the card. Stepping up to face her will be ex-bantamweight Queen Holly Holm. Word of the bout had been circling for weeks if not months. Talk had died down, but with few other options, the UFC and Holm apparently got a deal done.

Holm rocketed to stardom when she dethroned Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in 2015. The former boxing champ knocked out Rousey, ending an era, but could not establish her own dominant reign. She lost the belt to Miesha Tate in her very next fight, who in turn lost the title to current champ Amanda Nunes. Holm then lost her next two fights, including the inaugural women’s featherweight title fight against Germaine de Randamie in a controversial bout at UFC 208.

Since then, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ got back in the win column with a head kick knockout of Bethe Correia at bantamweight. UFC 219 will mark Holm’s second fight in the featherweight division.

Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino, meanwhile, will be facing arguably one of the toughest opponents of her career in Holm. Cyborg (18–1 (1)) is undefeated in three UFC fights, most recently dispatching former Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger. Feared for her ferocious power, the Brazilian has not lost a fight since her first go as a professional in 2005. A 2011 victory in Strikeforce over Hiroko Yamanaka, however, was changed to a No Contest after Cyborg tested positive for anabolic steroids.

UFC 219 takes place December 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.