ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been nearly a year since Holly Holm has fought in the octagon. “It’s been one of those rollercoasters,” said Holm. “Up and down injuries here and there, surgeries here. It just feels good to be healthy and ready for this fight.”

The former UFC bantamweight champion will square off against Yana Kunitskaya as the co-main event at UFC on ESPN 43 on Saturday, Mar. 25. Back in 2018, the two fighters were teammates at Jackson and Wink Academy. “I feel like it’s just a mutual respect that her and I have,” said Holm.

“It doesn’t bother me at all. I remember when we use to train. We were trying to get each other good, you know. We were good training partners. After a good hard run, it was like, hey, good job. It was good. It was tough. We were able to train hard when she was here and I know we’ll be able to fight hard.” Both fighters will carry a 14-6 record into the octagon.

At 41 years old, Holm wants to make a big statement in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday night. “I need to go in and make people say, wow,” said Holm. “She is still a big threat.”

In other sports news, University of New Mexico Lobos Baseball junior Isaac Gallegos is the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week. It’s the fourth league honor for the Lobos this season. The Lobos host New Mexico State University on Tuesday, Mar. 21.

The Metro Baseball Tournament Championship featured top seed, Rio Rancho Rams, hosting 2 seed, the La Cueva Bears. Weather forced the game to be stopped in the fifth inning with the Rams leading 12-5. The plan is to resume the game on a later day. That day has not yet been announced.

La Cueva hosted Volcano Vista in the Metro Softball Tournament. That game was also stopped due to weather with Volcano Vista leading La Cueva 8-5 in the fifth inning.

Spring football starts for New Mexico State on Tuesday, Mar. 21. The Aggies won seven games which included a bowl victory this past season. Quarterback Diego Pavia believes the best is yet to come especially after the addition of a solid recruiting class. “We look good, but more importantly our returning guys do too,” said Pavia. “They look better. Everyone has really bought into the program now. We didn’t have that around this time last year. Everything means that we are taking the next step and we are going to be ready to go.”

Rick Pitino has been hired as the new men’s basketball coach at St. John’s after agreeing to a six-year deal. The terms are undisclosed. Pitino spent three seasons at Iona before deciding to leave the program. He is one of only two coaches to lead three different teams to the Final Four. Pitino won a national championship at Kentucky and Louisville.

Manuel Vigil is the new head coach of girls’ basketball at Los Lunas high school. Vigil is returning to the area. He was head coach at Valencia from 2014-2016. Most recently he was the head girls’ basketball coach at Alamogordo high school from 2016-2021.