Holly Holm’s Rise, Style Changes, And Chances Against Ketlen Vieira



Holly Holm’s Rise, Style Changes, And Chances Against Ketlen Vieira

Holly Holm used to be the boxing champion and one of the most dangerous southpaws. At the beginning of her MMA run, she was a high-level striker with a very poor clinch and ground game, but luckily, she was trained by the two top-notch coaches – Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson. These two guys were way ahead of their time. Jon Jones didn’t invent oblique kicks, he just mastered the move from the training session and showed it to the world! 

Yet, Holly has always been a never-ending worker. Before the UFC run, she scored many knockouts via a left high kick, and her kicks improved significantly in the first two years of her MMA voyage. Some MMA fans even started calling her “The Female Mirko Cro Cop” after a legendary knockout over Allanna Jones at Legacy FC 21. 

UFC Beginning And First Style Change

Holly’s cardio was surprisingly good in her first UFC bouts, and she scored decision wins over Marlon Reneau and Raquel Pennington. Those wins impressed Dana White, who decided to let her participate in a title bout against the legendary Ronda Rousey. Despite being a massive underdog in the main event of UFC 193, Holm stuffed every single takedown attempt and put Ronda to sleep via a massive high kick in the second. 

Downfall And Second Modification 

Unfortunately, her downfall started immediately after the title loss, as she suffered three back-to-back losses to Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko, and Germaine de Randamie. But her legendary coaches had a solution – lateral moves. Holly started moving sideways, which resulted in another dominant victory over Bethe Correia for a Performance of the Night award. 

Her next two title shots didn’t end well. “The Preacher’s Daughter” was defeated against Cris Cyborg via decision at UFC 219. This was followed by a knockout loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 239, but it was not the end of her career. 

Third Style Modification 

Her magical coaches came up with another idea – wrestling and cage control improvement. We’ve seen a completely different fighter in the rematch against Raquel Pennington – a master of cage control, chain wrestling, and transitions from the top position. She did the same to Irene Aldana in the next fight. 

Holly Holm traveled a long way – an elite striker with a terrible ground game and lack of pivoting and side stepping is now a patient, chinny all-around fighter ready to outsmart the 135ers with the greatest fight IQ. Her anticipation skills rock – Holly eats very few punches and stays away from the central line. Now she’s known for her excellent feel of the distance, superb chain wrestling, lovely counters, and excellent clinching and takedown offense/defense. 

Holly Holm Vs Ketlen Viera – Who’s Gonna Win?

Ketlen Vieira is a BJJ black belt and an elite Muay Thai fighter, but Holly’s trickiness and feints might be too much. Vieira would gladly accept a toe-to-toe fight, but Holm is very experienced and tactical. The Albuquerque-based cardio machine has another significant advantage, as she’s trained by two coaches who created the greatest names in the game – Jon Jones, Carlos Condit, Thibault Gouti, Devin Clark, Aaron Pico, John Dodson…. the list goes on. 

This is the real test – Vieira is ready for all kinds of chess games. Stylistically, Vieira matches Holly’s fighting style, this should be a great fight for her. If she wins, Dana might give her a title shot, so the stakes are high. 

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Holly has already taken part in a title bout three times. Can she become the first-ever Octagon warrior to participate in four belt fights?

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.