Holly Holm is considered among the best female boxers of all time and she developed a vicious head kick in MMA, one that crowned her as UFC women's bantamweight champion against Ronda Rousey. Holm took a different direction at UFC Fight Night on Saturday by showing the evolution of her grappling against Yana Santos in a decisive decision victory.
Holm leaned heavily on her wrestling and top control in a dominant performance against Santos (formerly Kunitskya) in Saturday's co-main event. Holm grounded Santos in the late moments of Round 1 and returned to the well in the second and third frames. Holm appeared to have the fight wrapped by trapping Santos in a crucifix and unloading with strikes in the second round, but Santos wiggled free just in the nick of time.
The #UFCSanAntonio crowd was HYPED for Holly Holm 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/OZHwf3GgXg— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 26, 2023
Holm threatened a rear-naked choke in Round 3, but her first career submission ultimately eluded her. Nevertheless, Holm swept Santos on the scorecards and even earned a 30-26 on one judge's tally while the others both went 30-27.
"I want to be able to adapt wherever the fight is," Holm told UFC commentator Michael Bisping post-fight. "I just need to keep working hard. Keep working hard."
Holm, 41, recovered from a split decision loss to Ketlen Vieira in May 2022 and improved to 15-6 overall. She has won three of her last four fights and remains one of the top contenders in the UFC women's bantamweight champion.