Most of the mixed martial arts world was impressed with Valentina Shevchenko’s victory over Holly Holm last July.
Don’t count Julianna Pena among them.
The outspoken Ultimate Fighter 18 winner, who meets Shevchenko the main event of UFC on FOX 23 Saturday night in Denver, compared Holm’s place in the sport to the boxer who scored a legendary upset over a prime Mike Tyson in 1990.
Just as Douglas lost to Tyson, then promptly lost the belt and faded into obscurity, Pena believes Holm’s legacy is as the woman who beat Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight belt, then went on a downward spiral.
“She beat the Buster Douglas of MMA,” Pena told MMA Fighting. “So what? Buster Douglas had his one moment against Mike Tyson and then he lost every other big fight he was in. Holly, she had her moment against Ronda, she beat Ronda, and now they’re giving her another title fight even though she lost two fights in a row. Who else did she beat besides Ronda? No one. She’s this sport’s Buster Douglas.”
Pena insists that she didn’t have much to learn from Shevchenko’s victory over Holm, in which she took 49-46 scores across the board to win a five-round unanimous decision.
“It was little pitter-patter point fighting,” Pena said. “It wasn’t exciting. Holly just wants to outpoint people like she did as boxer and Valentina was just better at it that night. She does that too, she goes for points, and she was better at it than Holly.”
The fighter nicknamed “The Venezuelan Vixen” sees herself as the antidote to point fighting.
“That’s not what’s going to happen on Saturday night, I’m not going to just stand there and point fight, I’m going to go in there and be exciting and go for the finish.”