Holm is 36, and Anderson is the up-and-coming heir apparent to featherweight greatness. People think she could be the one to derail Cris Cyborg, but here’s the thing: She’s never seen anyone like Holm, who is among the top female combat athletes ever.
Look for Holm to stick to the outside, pick Anderson apart and deliver a crushing defeat for those who thought she might be on her way to the top of the UFC’s 145-pound class.
Outside of reigning champion Cristiane Justino, Megan Anderson is the first true featherweight to make her UFC debut in the barren 145-pound weight class. And because she’s alone in that regard, the promotion has once again asked former bantamweight titleholder Holly Holm to jump up in weight to add some name value to the Octagon newcomer. Yes, the same Holm who is just 1-4 since creaming Ronda Rousey in late 2015, but hey, who else is available? Germaine de Randamie surrendered her strap and dropped back down to bantamweight to avoid the wrath of “Cyborg” and the new season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) featuring all female featherweights is still months away from producing a pool of qualified contenders.
That leaves Anderson as the lone featherweight representative and she brings with her a pretty impressive resume from Invicta Fighting Championship, where she captured four straight wins which all came by way of knockout. One of her advantages is her size, standing 6’0” tall with a 73” reach. That’s four inches over Holm in both departments, a definite concern when you consider how “The Preacher’s Daughter” works her offense, using counterpunches and combinations to do most of the heavy lifting.
Holm is by far the superior striker and built an impressive resume on the regional circuit by beating fighters of Anderson’s caliber. Why she can’t seem to win a fight inside the Octagon is a mystery, but it certainly has nothing to do with her physical skills. She’s got cardio for days and elite-level boxing, but her ground game is about what you would expect from a newborn calf. Is that the opening Anderson needs? We just don’t know how truly good the Aussie is (or can be) simply because she hasn’t faced anyone of note. That changes tomorrow night.
Holm won the Rousey fight because “Rowdy” clomped around the cage with her hands low and chin high, looking for the power punch to make it an early night. Once that failed, she had no Plan B, but Miesha Tate and Valentina Shevchenko both showed the blueprint for success. A blueprint I fully expect Anderson to follow in “The Windy City” to cement her “Cyborg” title fight later this year.