The Woman Who Beat Fallon Fox Is Replacing Holly Holm for UFC 181

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

UFC 181 is set to be a great card, featuring a welterweight title fight between the defending champ Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler, for a result that will be challenged by the Canadian Rory MacDonald in the near future. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis will also defend his title in the lightweight division against Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez, and Travis “Hapa” Browne returns to the Octagon after suffering only his second professional career loss to the newly crowned interim heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, in a bout against Brendan “Big Brown” Schaub. Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson will face Abel “Killa” Trujillo in another lightweight bout, and Urijah Faber will headline the preliminaries on Fox Sports 1. 

It’s a great event the UFC has lined up for Saturday, December 6th in Las Vegas, one that’s got people excited—everyone wants to know who Rory MacDonald is going to challenge for the welterweight title. But the one fight that had us really excited was Holly Holm’s UFC debut in the bantamweight division against Raquel Pennington. 

A fresh 2014 UFC signee, Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm has an incredible martial arts pedigree. Widely regarded as the best female welterweight in the world, as well as one of the best of all time, clocking 33 wins—nine of which came by knockout—against only two losses. And, undefeated in her mixed martial arts with seven wins, Holly Holm’s signing to the UFC immediately brought up questions regarding the reigning women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. For many, Holly is the only athlete in the division who could actually present a threat to Rousey’s title. Polite as only she is in the sport, whenever asked about the potential matchup, Holly only responds with utmost respect for the celebrated judoka. 

Holly’s matchup against Raquel Pennington would have been her first adventure in the Octagon, her first chance to show everyone that the expectations would be met, but more importantly, give the world a first glimpse at what Ronda will have to deal with quite soon. Unfortunately, Holly has suffered a neck injury that forbids her from debuting against Raquel Pennington.

Raquel Pennington is a tough fighter. With a record split evenly between four wins and four losses, three of her last fights have been defeats. Once to Cat Zingano by rear-naked choke, then to Leslie Smith in a unanimous decision. She followed those losses with a great decision win over Roxanne Modafferi in The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale, a fight that would put her in an upswing, although she lost her next fight, to Jéssica Andrade at UFC 171 in a split decision from the judges. 

This next fight is insurmountably important for her—beating the undefeated Holly Holm, the division’s great hope, would put her on a pedestal among her peers. Now that she’s out, the UFC needed an similarly promising prospect. 

Enter Ashlee Evans-Smith, 27 years old and also undefeated, with three professional mixed martial arts wins under her belt, two of them by knockout. After taking her career to the professional level, her ostensibly most significant win was over Fallon Fox. Now if you don’t follow as closely as others, Fallon Fox is the much talked about transgender fighter who became a woman and competes with women, much to the chagrin and resistance of keyboard warriors everywhere, and Joe Rogan. 

Having handed Fallon Fox her only loss to date, Ashley Evans-Smith singlehandedly disproved any argument against Fallon Fox competing with women. But even with this important victory, Evans-Smith still went on ahead to say that Fallon shouldn’t be allowed to participate in women’s mixed martial arts events. According to her, there should be a dedicated tournament for transgender people. 

What gives, Ashley: you showed everyone that Fallon in fact doesn’t have an unfair advantage over women, because you beat her. Until the moment we all see Fallon obliterate an opponent in a blatantly obvious example of having an upper hand—beside just being a better fighter—we think people need to lay low on the topic. It’s inane. 

Regardless, women’s mixed martial arts are getting more and more interesting, with new faces coming in to shake things up. We hope Holly gets better soon, but she did say she doesn’t expect a lengthy recovery period. We really just want to see her fight in the UFC. Raquel Pennington and Ashley Evans-Smith will most likely be an exciting matchup, however, and recommend that you watch it. After all, Ashley Evans-Smith is undefeated, and the only person to have beaten Fallon Fox.

Ed: In an earlier version of the story we called Rory a Middleweight.


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