A week after the long-discussed Holly Holm-Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino UFC featherweight title fight was declared dead, it suddenly on Thursday came back to life.
Alive and kicking.
Thursday evening, the UFC announced that Albuquerque’s Holm ( 11-3) and Cyborg (18-1) will meet for the Brazilian’s title on UFC 219 on Dec. 30. The site is T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s longtime Albuquerque promoter and agent, confirmed to the Journal that the fight is on. On Nov. 8, Fresquez told the Journal and other media outlets that negotiations for a Holm-Cyborg fight had fallen through and that the fight would not happen, at least not this year.
“We came to a (contractual) understanding that we’re happy with,” Fresquez said.
Asked if his statement last week that the fight was dead was a negotiating ploy, Fresquez laughed but had no comment.
Cyborg, whose only loss came in her first-ever MMA fight 12½ years ago, undoubtedly will enter the Octagon on Dec. 30 a heavy favorite. Holm has fought at the featherweight limit of 145 only once before, and that was a loss by decision to Germaine de Randamie for the title Cyborg now holds.
After Holm’s memorable upset of Ronda Rousey two years ago, she lost three consecutive fights before stopping Bethe Correia by third-round TKO (head kick) in June.
Fresquez said he would remind all concerned that Holm has been an underdog before.
“I would never put Holly in a fight I didn’t feel she could win, ever,” he said. “Whatever people think her chances are, I really don’t care.”
Holm was a 20-1 underdog when she scored a stunning upset of the previously unbeaten Rousey. Fresquez also referenced Holm’s victory by unanimous decision as a boxer against women’s ring legend Christy Martin in 2005.
“She’s a dragon slayer,” Fresquez said. “And we intend on slaying the dragon (Cyborg).”
Asked for a prediction, Fresquez said, “I see Holly knocking her out in the fourth round with a head kick.”
The UFC did not announce whether Holm-Cyborg will be the main event of UFC 219.
Albuquerque’s Carlos Condit (30-10), Holm’s Jackson-Wink MMA teammate, is matched against Neil Magny (19-6) on the Dec. 30 card.