Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Featherweight newcomers Holly Holm and Germaine
clashed over the new title last night (Feb. 11, 2017) at UFC 208 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Holm transitioned over from the boxing world as a former champion and quickly put together nine straight wins to capture the UFC women’s Bantamweight title. Unexpectedly, Holm was upset in her next two bouts. Luckily, the newly-created Featherweight crown appeared just in her time of need, giving Holm a second chance at gold.
On the other hand, de Randamie had yet to appear in a major fight prior to this match up. She did finish her previous two opponents via knockout, and the former Muay Thai champion intended to extend that streak here.
Indeed, de Randamie was awarded a decision victory in a controversial fight.
From the outside, Holm circled actively and used her punches to set up kicks early on. Meanwhile, de Randamie stalked his opponent around the Octagon, looking to dig kicks into her moving foe.
Outside of the low kicks, Holm was having a difficult time of landing on her opponent. On the other hand, de Randamie was finding a home for her right hand, occasionally catching her foe circling but mostly landing on the counter. Despite eating some hard shots, Holm remained active, and she came rather close to landing a takedown in the final moments of the round.
De Randamie landed the best shots, but it was still a close round.
Soon into the second round, it became apparent that de Randamie had the timing on Holm’s charges. “Preacher’s Daughter” was able to land some low kicks, but de Randamie routinely blasted her opponent with a massive counter overhand.
Holm was smart to recognize that things were not going her way, so she pushed the fight into the clinch. While it didn’t exactly make sense on paper — de Randamie previously brutalized opponents from within the clinch — Holm was able to control position and threaten with takedowns for much of the round.
She was unable to do much damage from there though. Worse still, de Randamie landed a brutally hard right hand after the bell, and it definitely stunned Holm.
Back on the outside, the two fell into their usual pattern. Holm still ate counters when trying to blitz, but she found more success simply by kicking at range with long distance strikes.
Holm’s strategy of outside kicks and clinch work was actually working reasonably well, although the hardest head punches still belonged to de Randamie. In the final 10 seconds, Holm landed a slick question mark kick to the skull that rocked her opponent. De Randamie stormed back, but her best punches landed after the bell.
Following three rounds, the fight was still up in the air.
In the fourth round, de Randamie began to slow down a bit. She was still able to defend takedowns and land the occasional right hands and low kick. However, Holm was able to throw at a much higher volume, landing a lot more kicks and jamming her opponent into the fence often.
It was still close, but Holm seemed to edge the round.
The fifth round continued in similar fashion, with Holm out-landing her opponent but eating the hardest shots. After rocking her opponent with a left hand, Holm once again pushed into the clinch, controlling her opponent and landing small shots. For much of the final round, Holm trapped her foe along the fence, scoring more points in control than anything else.
At the end of 25 minutes, there was no definitive winner, but the judges awarded the decision to Germaine de Randamie. Had the point been deducted, it would’ve been a draw.
De Randamie won this bout because she landed the most damaging blows. It was a very close and competitive match, but de Randamie’s right hand was far and away the most memorable strike from the fight. Her timing was really exceptional, as she clocked Holm a dozen times.
Aside from that, de Randamie was very efficient with her energy. She slowed down a bit, but de Randamie was able to remain competitive with Holm for so long solely because she picked her moments so well.
Next up for de Randamie should be Cris Cyborg, but she is suspended at the moment. If that suspension sticks, a rematch with Holm might be the only real option.
Holm really showed her grit in this loss. Things simply were not going her way on the feet, and the inept referee hindered her as well. Despite that, she was able to adapt her style, relying more and more on outside kicks and clinch work than her boxing setups.
Win or lose, it worked better than her original plan.
Perhaps more than anything else, Holm lost this bout because she failed to complete the takedown. She landed in great position to finish her shots and clinch throws repeatedly, but Holm simply didn’t have the experience/technique to make the most of it.
Last night at UFC 208, Germaine de Randamie became the inaugural Featherweight champion. How long with ‘The Iron Lady’ hang onto her strap?
For complete UFC 208: “Holm vs de Randamie” results and play-by-play, click HERE!