The way Holly Holm's UFC debut was built up, anything short of a memorable knockout was going to be a letdown.
So while Holm (8-0) was rarely challenged in her fight with the Coloradan, she didn't come close to scoring a finish of her own either. Holm won via split decision, taking scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27.
"It's a new experience and the unknown is there, so there's nerves there," Holm said. "Because of all the hype I couldn't live up to it. I hate the split decision, I wish I could have finished it."
Both bantamweights looked tentative in round one, with Pennington (5-5) showing respect for Holm's striking skills, while Holm, for her part, both seemed to telegraph a left head kick and couldn't quite find her range.
Still, though, Holm's got the best of the exchanges which did go down, a pattern which continued in round two.
In round three, Pennington briefly dropped Holm, which led to the most spirited action of the fight. Holm sprang right back to her feet and the duo mixed it up over the fight's final minute.
"I felt like we might be in the clinch a little more," Holm said. "I thought she would be shooting more. I'm just trying to get better."