New UFC Women’s Division Begins with Controversy [UPDATED]
There can be no denying that UFC 208, the world leader in MMA’s debut in Brooklyn, New York was simply disappointing. The card lost a number of fights to be shortened down to just ten for the entire night—9 of those went to the decision of judges. The main event…we’ll get to that.
UFC President Dana White gave his thoughts on the night on the FS1 post-fight show.
“Not one of our better events,” White said. “I always feel like that if we come into a place, you’re going to have at least a few good fights that are going to get you up out of your seat."
The night was filled with questionable calls in the eyes of many, and that included the co-main event in which Anderson Silva topped Derek Brunson by unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 30-27) in a fight that saw Silva on the canvas much of the time. Before that, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza had the only finish—a first-round kimura submission victory against Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch.
Updated 2/18/17: Brunson will appeal the decision.
Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie (UFC W. Featherweight Championship)
Fans were already critical of 208’s main event from the very start once Cris “Cyborg” Justino seemed to be out of the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight (145-pound) championship picture due to a potential drug testing violation. Her presence lingered after the champion was crowned as well.
Updated 2/18/17: “Cyborg” has been cleared by USADA.
De Randamie has cage control early and the ten-time muay thai champion lands her first kick to the boxer’s torso. Holm gets nothing on a two-punch combo in response and pays for it by taking a right hand to the face dead-center. The cautious Holm continues to edge her way around the cage. “The Iron Lady” of Dutch heritage keeps Holm at bay with a left hook then a right straight-left hook pairing.
When Holm overcommits on her next strike attempt and receives another right to the cranium, she looks for her first takedown of the night but ends the first round tied up with de Randamie as the clock runs out.
“The Preacher’s Daughter” comes out with low leg kicks as part of predictable three-four strike flurries. Another straight right hand goes unblocked from de Randamie after she connects with Holm shin-first to her midsection. De Randamie exerts little effort in avoiding Holm’s next pair of short blows and gives another countering left hook. A takedown (this time a double-leg) fails again for the former women’s bantamweight champion. She suffers knees to the abdomen before switching to a single-leg with which she has no luck.
De Randamie fires off a combo that doesn’t finish before the end of the round and Holm gets illegally rocked heading into the resting period.
Roughly half of the third offers up little information to report as Holm continued to fall behind with fruitless leg kicks while de Randamie seems to be exhausting herself. The same strategy Holm has used all fight up to this point is the only one that is successful as de Randamie steps out of the way of more leather aimed at her head.
The visible plan of attack from the Dutchwoman appears to be high with a punch the low-to-mid-range with kicks to Holm. She stays upright after another takedown attempt and gets a solid left in on her opponent during a stretch of clinch boxing. Holm surprises all with her famous head kick out of nowhere and de Randamie scrambles.
In doing so, she yet again strikes Holm after the sound of the horn and this time is given a warning that another incident will mean a point deduction.
The fourth frame begins with a return to clinch fighting and it remains there until the fighters are separate with 60 seconds or so now gone. “The Iron Lady” continues to tire, but it doesn’t seem to matter as she pulls further ahead with each round. Holm suffers questionable right while going wide on a trademark kick. She then wrestles away the last minute with no success.
The remaining minutes are just a formality as de Randamie opens with another right bomb ahead of a clinch. When a Holm single-leg attempt once more does nothing, the official separates the two. The round finishes as expect with low kicks and right hands as (like it or not) de Randamie has the UFC’s newest belt.
(C) Germaine de Randamie def. Holly Holm via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Holm is now on a three-fight losing streak since making headlines worldwide by being the first woman to ever knockout Ronda Rousey.
Updated 2/18/17: Holm has appealed the decision.
Holm may not have won the fight, but with even a single point deducted from the new champion’s score for the late punches, the fight would have at least been a draw and that is the reason for uproar from fans and the appeal by Holm to the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC.) De Randamie considered the blows to be “in the heat of the moment” in her apology to Holm.
“It wasn’t the best fight I ever saw,” White said. “I was hoping that the main event would deliver and erase most of the rest of the night. That didn’t happen. You know me, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a bad show, and they happen. It happens.”