Holly Holm won’t wait until Ronda Rousey is ready to fight again to defend her title, and she’ll be back in the octagon at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. Holm will put her women’s bantamweight belt on the line against Miesha Tate at UFC 196.
Holm completed the transition from boxing to mixed martial arts three years ago, and she got her first UFC title shot when she faced Rousey at UFC 193 in November. Holm shocked the sports world by knocking out Rousey in the second round, handing UFC’s top female star the first loss of her career.
There was speculation that Tate would get the title shot in November that eventually went to Rousey. Tate lasted into the third round against Rousey in their fight on Dec. 28, 2013, and she has since won four fights in a row. It was surprising to see the title change hands a little less than four months ago, and while there wouldn’t be the same level of shock if that happened on Saturday, Holm is expected to be victorious.
With 10 career MMA fights and three fights in UFC, Holm remains undefeated. Bovada.lv gives her -300 betting odds to keep her perfect record, and Tate is a +230 underdog.
Holm is still relatively new to the sport, and Tate has beaten some of the toughest female competition in UFC. Holm also has the added pressure of having to retain the belt in order to hold the public’s interest in her eventual rematch with Rousey.
"It's just as important of a fight. I mean I don't want to be a one-hit wonder. Even more of an important fight," Holm told FOX Sports on Wednesday. "A lot of people are wondering 'what's really going to happen now after that kind of a victory?' Is she the real deal? Is she really going to do it?'"
The welterweight fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will headline UFC 196, but the women’s bantamweight title fight is being advertised as the “co-main event.” The pay-per-view is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET, and Holm and Tate will face off just before McGregor and Diaz close out the event.
Following three fights, Holm vs. Tate probably won’t get underway until after 11:30 p.m. ET, likely starting some time around midnight. When Holm defeated Rousey in the main event of UFC 193, the fourth fight on the card got underway around 11:50 p.m. ET. Before McGregor defeated Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 194, the fourth fight of the night featured Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman, starting shortly after midnight.
Rousey won't be ready to come back and fight for the title until late in the year.