Former UFC female bantamweight champion Holly Holm is set to return this weekend. She will take on Thiago Santos’ wife Yana Santos in the UFC San Antonio co-main event. While Cory Sandhagen will take on Marlon Vera in the main event, promising fighters like Chidi Njokuani and Alex Perez will be on the card as well. But most importantly, the bout will not take place at the Apex arena, instead will be in front of live fans at the AT&T Center in Texas.
Nicknamed “The Preacher’s daughter,” Holly Holm is coming off a loss against Ketlen Vieira in May 2022. But it was not a stoppage loss and Vieira won the bout via a split decision. Since then, Holm took 10 months off and is finally ready to come back. At the age of 41, fans were not too sure about her future in the company. But UFC has shown faith in her and decided to sign her up for a new 6-fight deal.
Holm vs. Santos pic.twitter.com/8ZYpfndyhP
— MMA Mania (@mmamania) March 24, 2023
Yana Santos, formerly known as Yana Kunitskaya, is also coming off a loss. However, she has not fought since July 2021 at UFC 264. The bout against Irene Aldana ended with Yana getting TKO’ed in the first round. Since then, Yana took nearly two years off and started a family with former UFC light heavyweight title contender, Thiago Santos. However, Yana is also 33 years of age. Can she make a triumphant comeback against a seasoned veteran like Holly Holm, let’s find out.
UFC San Antonio: Holly Holm vs Yana Santos, Stats
|Stats||Holly Holm||Yana Santos|
|Height||1.73 m||1.68 m|
|Division||Women’s Bantamweight||Women’s Bantamweight|
|Reach||175.3 cm||174 cm|
Holm vs Santos: Fight Breakdown
Holly Holm made her UFC debut in 2015 and has a record of 7 wins and 6 losses in the promotion. The most impressive and famous win of her career came against Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. She has an MMA record of 14 wins and 6 losses with 8 KO wins. In her nearly 12-year-old career, Holm is yet to have a submission win in her career.
As per UFC stats, Holly Holm lands 3.24 strikes per minute with a 56% takedown accuracy. In terms of takedowns, Holly averages 0.72 averages takedowns per bout. On the other hand, Yana Santos averages 4.28 strikes per minute and averages 1.53 takedowns per bout. Santos is quite good in terms of striking defense as she only absorbs 2.94 strikes. She is very much the younger fighter in the bout. But the concern for her in the bout is her chin.
Yana Santos (MMA record 14-6) has the option to make the bout a grappling fest. She has 1 submission in her career and her grappling stats are much better than Holly’s. However, Holm will be the bigger fighter in terms of height and reach. She is also a Hall of Fame boxer. Hence, Yana Santos has to be very careful about engaging without protecting her chin. She has to especially be careful about Holly’s high kicks.
Although both fighters are coming off losses, Holly Holm will be the favorite this weekend. Holly has fought much better fighters and has more experience in handling the pressure of big fights. Hence, it is hard to bet against the former champ at UFC San Antonio this Saturday.