Which and how many New Mexico fighters will climb into the Octagon at the Santa Ana Star Center on Feb. 15 remains to be seen.
One that will not, it was confirmed on Monday, is Holly Holm.
Instead, Holm (12-5) is booked on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas, Nev., on UFC 246 for her bantamweight rematch with Colorado Springs’ Raquel Pennington (10-7).
The story was first reported by Mike Bohn of USA Today and mmajunkie.com.
Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s agent and longtime local promoter, had told the Journal last week that his fighter was contracted to fight on UFC 246 but said her being moved to the scheduled Feb. 15 UFC card at the Star Center was a possibility.
That possibility was discussed, Fresquez told the Journal via text on Monday, but Pennington apparently had a time conflict — “state wresting coach or something like that,” he wrote.
The reference is unclear, but Jason Kutz, Pennington’s coach, is the head wrestling coach at Fountain-Fort Carson High School in Colorado Springs. It’s possible Pennington is a volunteer assistant.
The Colorado girls state tournament is the weekend of Feb. 15. The boys tournament is the following weekend.
Holm defeated Pennington by split decision at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2015 in the Albuquerque southpaw’s UFC debut.
A rematch was scheduled for Oct. 5 of this year in Melbourne, Australia, but the fight was cancelled because of a hamstring injury suffered by Holm in training.
The Jan. 18 card is headlined by a fight between Edgewood’s Donald Cerrone (36-13), Holm’s former Jackson-Wink teammate, and Ireland’s Conor McGregor (21-4).
Regarding the Feb. 15 card in Rio Rancho, the UFC has made no announcements regarding the lineup. But Albuquerque flyweight Ray Borg (12-4) has confirmed online reports that he’ll face Brazil’s Rogerio Bonterin (16-1) that night.
Two MMA websites, Sherdog and Tapology, are listing a fight between flyweights Montana De La Rosa (10-5) of Arlington, Texas, and Italy’s Mara Romero Borella (12-6) as booked for the Star Center.