ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — She’s Taking On 3rd MMA Bout
Yogi Berra once said: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
In pursuing mixed-martial arts concurrently with her highly successful boxing career, Albuquerque’s Holly Holm is making Yogi sound like a sage.
Holm, 32-2-3 as a boxer, will seek to improve her MMA record to 3-0 when she headlines the local portion of a Bellator MMA card scheduled Feb. 28 at the Santa Ana Star Center. Her opponent has not yet been selected.
Bellator MMA, Santa Ana Star Center, 6 p.m. Tickets: $25-$90, santaanastarcenter.com
“I just want to take the opportunity in front of me,” Holm said Tuesday at a news conference. “… I’m very excited about MMA. It’s definitely something I’m 100 percent into, not something that’s just, like, in between time.”
In the boxing ring, Holm defeated Australia’s Diana Prazak in December – setting up, or so it appeared, a showdown with unbeaten Norwegian Cecilia Braekhus. Instead, Braekhus opted for a fight in April against Mia St. John.
When Holm’s management team was offered the MMA opportunity, it didn’t hesitate. Nor did Holm.
Though she has had only two MMA fights, both victories by knockout, Holm’s combat-sports roots are in the martial arts. From the beginning, she has trained with Mike Winkeljohn, who with Greg Jackson operates one of the world’s most successful MMA gyms.
“I’ve been around MMA, kickboxing and boxing all combined, and I feel like it’s been really good for me to be around that,” she said.
Still, she acknowledges, the learning curve can be steep.
In her first MMA fight, against Christina Domke in March 2011, Holm dropped her opponent with powerful leg kicks – then, instead of going ground-and-pound, stood there like a boxer waiting for the count to start.
Six months later, in her second MMA fight against Jan Finney, she did not repeat that mistake.
“I feel like I’ve learned a heck of a lot from those two,” she said, “and I want to multiply that by 100 as far as how much better I’ll be for this fight.”
LOOK SHARP: Pojoaque featherweight Angelo Sanchez (12-3) is a former King of the Cage champion and has contested 11 of his 15 pro fights in KOTC action.
He’s aware that an impressive showing against Missouri transplant Kevin Croom (7-4) might catch someone’s eye at Bellator, the second-largest MMA organization in the nation.
But, he said, first things first.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” he said. “But, for me, I’m trying not to think about that right now because I’ve got Kevin Croom right in front of me.”
LOVATO RETURNS: Middleweight Lenny Lovato Jr.’s MMA nickname is “The Godfather,” but “The Dad” might be more appropriate.
Of his 2 1/2-year absence from the cage, Lovato (8-1), said: “I’ve just been making lots of babies. I’ve got three kids and one on the way.”
Lovato said he always intended to return.
“I believe at age 28 that I’m still in the prime,” he said.
Lovato is scheduled to face Blas Avena (7-6) of Las Vegas, Nev.
THE CARD: The Feb. 28 undercard, headlined by Holm, is scheduled to be streamed on spike.com, starting at 6 p.m. The main card, headlined by a Bellator light heavyweight title fight between Christian M’Pumbo (18-4) of Kinshasa, Congo, and Attila Vegh (28-4) of Bratislava, Slovakia, will start at 8 and will be aired live on Spike.
— This article appeared on page D5 of the Albuquerque Journal