From friends to ‘foes’: Holly Holm, Yana Kunitskaya clash in UFC

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
From friends to âfoesâ: Holly Holm, Yana Kunitskaya clash in UFC
Holly Holm (right) during her fight with Irene Aldana.

MANILA, Philippines – The most intriguing match of UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Sandhagen is the co-main event that pits Holly Holm (14-6-0) against Yana Kunitskaya (14-6-0) in a bantamweight bout on Sunday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The event will be aired live in the Philippines on the Premier Sports Channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as on the TapGo TV streaming application at 7 a.m. (Manila time).

Aside from the fact that both women tote the same win-loss-draw record, they are very familiar with one another as they are both training mates, sparring mates and friends.

“We know each other so well — strengths and weaknesses, so it will be interesting to see how we fight one another,” observed Holm.

More to that, it would be interesting to see how Holm does as she just inked a new six-fight deal with the UFC as she makes one last run to the title. Or at least she hopes so. 

Holm is at 41 years of age and should she fulfill her contract, she would be 43 by that time.

“I knew I didn’t want my last fight to be my last. I am glad to come to an agreement with new terms. And to continue my journey which is to win a championship,” she said.

“Each fight is its own journey and I try not to compare. I will never be much as an underdog fighting Rhonda. I will never be that UFC debutant again. Now, I have to motivate myself for each fight no matter what. Throughout my career, I have had to dig deep no matter where in the promotion I am fighting. I have to be on the top of my game because I hate to lose.”

First things first though — Holm needs to get past Kunitskaya.

Since her spectacular and shock win over Rhonda Rousey in 2015, she has gone 4-6. She was bloodied by Ketlen Veiera in their headline match of May 2022 that many wondered if she should hang it up. 

Kunitskaya is also coming off a loss to Irene Aldana almost two years ago. She has not fought since as she had to recuperate from a broken nose and to give birth to her child from mixed martial arts fighter Thiago Santos. 

Holm knows that Kunitskaya will bring it. “She a professional,” she noted of her opponent who is seven years younger. “It is just a fight; nothing personal.”

“We used to train hard and help each other for our own fights. We have gotten to feel each other out. Nothing but respect. She will come hard. No bad blood but respect. We’ll just do what we have to do inside the Octagon.”





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