The UFC 208 main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York crowned the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm and Muay Thai specialist Germaine de Randamie went the distance, had two big moments of controversy after the horn had sounded, and in the end it was de Randamie who had the belt wrapped around her waist.
Holm and de Randamie traded leg kicks in the early stages. The Dutchwoman connected on a standing elbow. De Randamie tagged Holm with a right hand at the midway point of round 1. Holm walked into a stiff jab and then was tagged by a right hand and a left hook. Holly connected on a push kick and an outside leg kick. De Randamie landed a beautiful counter right hand. Holm continued to throw the oblique kick. Holly went for the takedown and then de Randamie nearly turned that into a trip of her own. De Randamie kept her balance and prevented the single leg from being completed before the round expired.
Holm, as ever, opened up the second round with a hard outside leg kick. De Randamie cracked Holm again with a lovely counter right hand, and then evaded the high kick. The right hand of de Randamie continued to pose problems for Holm, who closed the distance and clinched against the fence. Holm tried to drop down for a double-leg, but couldn’t get GdR down. Germaine turned Holm’s back against the fence and fired off brutal knees to the body. Holm almost had Germaine’s back but de Randamie stayed up right and continued to throw knees to the stomach. Controversy ensued as Holm got clocked by a right hand after the horn had sounded, and no point deduction was issued to de Randamie.
Round 3 started off on a slower note. Holm was clearing the cobwebs after the late strike, and de Randamie was waiting for Holm to come forward so she could counter. De Randamie again found success with the right hand and prevented Holm from taking her down. De Randamie drilled Holm with another body kick. Holm continued to throw oblique kicks and turning side kicks, but seldom landed any shots to the head. They clinched up with a minute to go in the round, Holm nearly took de Randamie down, but again couldn’t complete it. De Randamie laced Holm with a big left hook. Holm scored with a question mark kick, by far her best moment of the fight, and then de Randamie AGAIN tagged Holm after the horn. Referee Todd MacDonald warned de Randamie that a point would be taken away if it happened again.
Holm continued to pursue the takedown in round 4. It was a stalemate in the clinch, so the referee separated them. Holm got off a good left hand and a body kick. De Randamie cracked Holm with a good punch as Holm turned her head. Once again, Holm went for a takedown. De Randamie and Holm traded knees. Holm’s trip failed and she absorbed more knees to the body before they separated.
In round 5, Holm continued with the kicks, while de Randamie threw right hands. A big left hand clipped de Randamie and had her legs buckle, but Holm then spent nearly two minutes trying to take de Randamie down. The referee separated them and Holm surged forward for the clinch and the takedown attempt. Knees were traded, Holm’s corner was telling her to kickbox, but we got clinchwork. De Randamie got in a nice knee before they separated with 15 seconds left in the fight. Fans at Barclays Center (at least the ones who hadn’t left yet) loudly booed when the final horn sounded.
Official results: Germaine de Randamie def. Holly Holm (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) to become the UFC women’s featherweight champion
Holm has now lost three straight fights, while de Randamie is on a three-fight winning streak for the first time in her MMA career. De Randamie apologized for hitting after the horn, but those two incidents plus the quality of tonight’s fight won’t endear her with the fans.
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