At UFC 225, a determined Holly Holm schooled a game Megan Anderson, who showed heart and plenty of promise despite following to ‘The Preacher’s Daughter.’
At UFC 225 on Saturday night in Chicago, IL, there was a little bit of everything. For the women fighting at 145lbs, that included a wee bit of history. While not exactly the dawn of an era, Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson represented a major step forward for the women’s featherweight division. With it, the UFC marked the first non-title fight in the weight class.
No longer was the featherweight division the Cyborg Show. With an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter set to feature the weight class, it seemed like the promotion was finally going all in with the big ladies.
The importance of Holm vs. Anderson, then, wasn’t just about selecting the next title challenger/victim of Cris Cyborg. It was about first impressions. An exciting fight could get people pumped for the proper launch of the weight class. A boring one, well, MMA fans are fickle, to say the least.
Beyond that, there was a first impression to be made by Anderson, the former Invicta FC champion who many saw as a legit threat to Cyborg heading into the fight. At least they did, until personal issues delayed the UFC debut of the Australian fighter by over a year.
Anderson had much to prove on Saturday at UFC 225. She started strong, displaying crisp striking that caught Holm and backed her up. Megan flashed a front kick, and Holm immediately fled. She re-engaged, pressing Anderson into the cage. Here, Holm’s strength was on full display, as she was able to control the larger Anderson. Holm worked in some knees to the thigh, while Anderson struggled to create space. Finally breaking free with just under two minutes in the round, Anderson looked to stay on the outside but ate a front kick. Holm then scored a takedown, but Anderson immediately tied her up by the neck. However, Holm would wind up in side control, with just under a minute left in the frame. Anderson would manage to spin around underneath Holm, staying out of harm’s way while remaining trapped to the bell.
Round two saw Holly Holm look to create space with her front kicks, then once again shoot for a takedown. Anderson managed to stay on her feet, however, and as the round progressed started to land single strikes upstairs. Yet a critical mistake on her part saw Holm back on top, in half guard then side control. That led to mount, or close enough to it, and some big punches from the top. Holm had a shot at an arm-triangle choke, but let the submission go to land some more strikes. Holm even mixed in shoulder strikes, wearing away at Anderson, who looked unsure of herself with Holm mounting her. Holm elbows finished the round, and they’d head to the third.
Anderson may have needed a finish in the third, and while she fired off a punch or two early, Holm quickly shot in for the takedown. Anderson struggled to defend, staying upright but unable to break free. Holm then finally wrenched her to the canvas, quickly moving to mount. Holm looked ready to find the finish, but Megan scrambled up. Holm fired a head kick that grazed her opponent, but Anderson stalked her, walking her down, only to eat more kicks. Holm again powered her down, negating any talk of Megan Anderson’s power advantage. Megan would break free and wind up on top after eating a bevy of shots to the head and body that got the crowd on its feet as the round closed. Holm clearly had the win, and it looked like she might just be in for a rematch against Cris Cyborg.
After the fight, Holm admitted 135lbs was her home, but said she wanted both belts if possible. It would be hard, following that performance, to deny her one more shot at a second title.
Holly Holm def. Megan Anderson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)