The road back to getting the UFC women’s bantamweight title may have become a little longer for former champion, Holly Holm (10-1) after UFC 200 a few weeks ago.
Amanda Nunes shocked the world in the main event of that night, beating Miesha Tate thus catapulting herself into the mix at 135 in similar fashion to when Holm took out then unbeatable Ronda Rousey last year.
And Holm knows that in order to keep herself relevant in her division and to get her title back, beating Valentina Shevchenko (12-2) in the main event of UFC on FOX 20 in Chicago, IL is a must. “I want to win and I’ve got to win in order to get back there,” explained Holm. “But I do know that it’s just one fight at a time and I’m just focused on Valentina right now.”
A win for Shevchenko on Saturday night would also launch her into the mix in the women’s bantamweight division surrounded by names like Miesha Tate, Julianna Pena and Ronda Rousey, but she is only thinking about the fight in front of her. “Yes of course people are asking what about the future and things like that,” said Shevchenko. “But it really depends on the fight on Saturday.”
With the women’s bantamweight title changing waists three times in the last ten months, both Holm and Shevchenko know that one win can make or break you in their division, so both are not looking must past Saturday night in the main event at the United Center. “I don’t want to think too far ahead because you’re never promised another day and opportunity,” said Holm. “I feel like I need to perform on Saturday before anything else is even offered to me. Just Saturday is all I’m thinking about.
In the co-main event of the night, all eyes will be on Gilbert Melendez (22-5) as he makes his return to the cage after thirteen months. Coming off of two loses, most recently to now lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez back in June of 2015 at UFC 188, his hands will be full and will need to win if he wants to break back into the top ten in the lightweight division as he takes on #6 ranked lightweight Edson Barboza (17-4).
Also on the main card, heavyweights Francis Ngannou (7-1) will take on Bojan Mihajlovic (10-3) and Illinois native and TUF 20 alumn, Felice Herrig (10-6) will face Kailin Curran (4-2).
UFC on Fox 20 is Saturday, July 23rd LIVE on Fox. Prelims start at 6pm ET as the main card airs at 8pm ET.