UFC 219 Preview: Cyborg vs. Holm

Can Holly Holm become the first female in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight divisions?!

BY Niall McGrath 13:00 Friday 29 December 2017, 13:00 29 Dec 2017

Can Holly Holm make history and take the title from Cris Cyborg?!

Two of MMA’s most accomplished female fighters come head-to-head this Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the UFC featherweight strap.

Former bantamweight champion Holly Holm challenges Cris Cyborg for 145 lbs gold in the main event, on one of the most eagerly anticipated cards of the year. Victory for the challenger means she would become the first woman in UFC history to hold titles in two separate weight classes.

Traditionally, the final card of the year is one of the UFC’s most stacked, and this one is no different. 


Keys to victory:

Cris Cyborg: For the champion, it’s about asserting herself on the front foot, controlling the Octagon and not letting Holm establish angles.

Expect Cyborg to try and walk Holm down with big combinations to the body and face. She may well look to land big with knees and punches in the clinch, and grind Holm off the fence. Expect Cyborg to look for the early finish as she has a big weight cut, and tends to slow considerably the further the fight progresses.


Holly Holm: For the former World boxing champion, it’s going to be about avoiding Cyborg’s massive power - which is easier said then done. Holm can do this by using her pace and ability to get in and out quickly, getting off with slick combinations and revert to fighting off the back foot.

If she can establish that, as we saw against Ronda Rousey, it should cause problems for the champion, especially the longer the fight goes. Holm can be patient and not push for the finish by implementing this strategy, and wearing the Brazilian down.

Cyborg’s weight cut is always an issue and she tends to tire in the latter rounds. Holm has the advantage of previously going five rounds, whereas the champion has never gone outside four rounds in a title fight.


Other fights to watch on the card:

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barbosa: Both are potential suitors for Conor McGregor’s 155lbs crown. Nurmagomedov’s grappling is sublime, and will undoubtedly look to take the Brazilian to the canvas.

Barbosa will look to use his vicious leg-kicks, but will have to be wary of being taken down if using them against the Dagestani. Barbosa has an underrated boxing game under the tutelage of Mark Henry. It’s an intriguing contest ahead with massive ramifications for both winner and loser.

Marc Diakiese vs. Daniel Hooker: Two hot prospects in the UFC’s lightweight division. Hard-hitting Brit Diakiese is coming off the first loss of his career, while New Zealand’s Hooker is coming off a win over another Brit in Ross Pearson.

Congolese-born Diakiese is an extremely flashy fighter who likes to throw unorthodox kicks and combinations. He also has an extremely underrated grappling game, something he was known for earlier in his young career. Hooker, on the other hand, has a decent submission game but is primarily know for his striking ability. This is definitely a fight that's flying under the radar. 

Where to watch:

UFC Fight Pass: Prelims from 12:30am

BT Sport 1: Prelims 1am, main card from 3am


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