One giant leap forward, two big steps back. That's the story of Holly Holm's UFC career since she knocked out Ronda Rousey. The woman who would be queen just kind find her groove anymore.
Holm was out-boxed, out-wrestled and out-hustled by Valentina Shevchenko Saturday night, losing a unanimous 5-round decision. All three judges scored the fight 49-46.
Holm started out strong, landing some big punches, including one that sent Shevchenko to the ground.
It looked like Holm was going to score a quick knockout, but Shevchenko survived and seem to adjust well to Holm's standup. Shevchenko counter-punched well, catching Holm as she was coming in. The fight changed entirely in round three when Shevchenko took Holm down and rode her, opening a cut over Holm's right eye.
Shevchenko started to loosen up in rounds four and five, throwing a wild spinning backfist that almost connected.
Holm seemed flustered by Shevchenko's footwork and although Holm appeared to be in excellent physical shape, she was tired in the later rounds, lacking a sense of urgency to catch up.
Shevchenko wants champ Amanda Nunes next. She lost to Nunes by unanimous decision earlier this year. She did, however, win the third round in that fight.
"I want a rematch with Nunes, Amanda for the title belt," Shevchenko said.
Where does this leave Holm? Back to the drawing board, behind Miesha Tate and Rousey. Suddenly Rousey is looking like the No. 1 contender again.
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