Holly Holm became successful in her long-awaited UFC debut as she edged “Rocky” Pennington after a three-round contest.

While some were expecting a thundering first-round KO for the woman boxing and kickboxing champion, we instead got a much more mature performance from Holm as she stayed one step ahead of her opponent, and out-struck her every step of the way.

Holm paved the way for her victory through her expert use of her range, volume punching, and long kicking game. While Holm never seemed too inclined to throw much power, she was definitely the more technical striker in the Octagon. Holly utilized hard knees to the body to punish Pennington as she drove for takedowns and clinch pressure, and also used her physical tools to stay on her feet. Pennington attempted to close the distance with one-two’s, but Holm’s judge of distance was superior as she stayed just out of range.

The judges ruled it a split decision for Holm, but I’m sure most fight fans would agree it was a clear decision for Holm. The only trouble we saw Holm get in was in the third round when Pennington caught her off balance with a right hand and appeared to drop her, but Holm immediately got back up.

All in all, it was a successful night for Holly Holm. Did she live up to her hype? Some might say no, but one must understand the insane amount of pressure and expectation that she stepped into. However, technically speaking, Holm showed that there is a lot to look forward to in her fighting career.

Holm’s split decision victory came during the co-main event of UFC 184. A UFC event headlined by Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano which took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.