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UFC 246 results: Holly Holm outmuscles Raquel Pennington in grueling three-round decision

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It wasn’t pretty but Holly Holm got the job done.

The former bantamweight champion wanted to get back in the win column more than anything after she suffered a knockout loss to reigning champion Amanda Nunes in her last appearance in the Octagon.

It was mission accomplished for Holm as she outmuscled and outworked Raquel Pennington round after round en route to a unanimous decision victory with the scorecards reading 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 all in her favor.

“I really do wish I would have struck more with her. She’s tough. You never know where she’s going to take the fight,” Holm said afterwards. “We have a victory but I still really want to do a lot better than my performance tonight.

The majority of the 15 minutes took place against the cage with Holm showcasing a strong clinch game as she negated Pennington’s desire to turn the fight into a slugfest. Every time Pennington closed the distance looking to throw her hands, Holm would grab onto the body lock and press her against the cage where she constantly maintained a dominant position.

Every time Holm would get locked into the clinch, she would dig her head into Pennington’s chin while just muscling her around the Octagon.

During the few moments where the fighters were separated, Holm managed to connect with faster combinations, although the significant strikes were at a minimum over three rounds.

A chorus of boos rained down on the fighters after the final horn sounded but Holm did enough to secure the win after previously defeating Pennington in her UFC debut back in 2015.

Despite coming up short in her last four title fights across two divisions in the UFC, Holm is still confident following this latest win that she can one day wrap the gold back around her waist again.

“I really do feel I can be champ again,” she said. “I do.”