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MMA: Holm-Pena scheduled for May

Albuquerque MMA bantamweight Holly Holm is scheduled for a May 8 fight against Julianna Pena on a UFC card, Holm’s agent, Lenny Fresquez, confirmed on Friday.

The May 8 card features a fight between two of Holm’s former teammates at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA: Albuquerque’s Diego Sanchez (30-13) and Edgewood’s Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15).

No site for the card has been announced, due to COVID-19 concerns.

Holm (14-5) last fought on Oct. 3, defeating Mexico’s Irene Aldana by unanimous decision. Pena (10-4), of Spokane, Washington, defeated Sara McMann by third-round submission (rear naked choke) on Jan. 23.

On the Oct. 3 card in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Pena lost to The Netherlands’ Germaine de Randamie (10-4) by third-round submission (guillotine choke). Holm’s and De Randamie’s victories on that card suggested that a Holm-de Randamie rematch might be forthcoming; the Dutch fighter defeated Holm by unanimous (though disputed) decision for the inaugural UFC featherweight title in February 2017.

For whatever reason, Holm-de Randamie II is not happening.

Pena, though, presents a significant challenge for Holm. The Washington fighter’s only two losses in the past eight years have come against de Randamie, the former featherweight champion, and current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Among Pena’s victories is a win by unanimous decision over former Albuquerquean Nicco Montano in July 2019.

Holm, a former UFC bantamweight champion, has won two fights in a row for the first time since 2015. Before the impressive victory over Aldana, the Albuquerque left-hander defeated Raquel Pennington by unanimous decision in January 2020.

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