UFC 208: Germaine de Randamie becomes first women’s featherweight champion
Germaine* de Randamie became the first winner of the UFC women’s featherweight championship after a controversial victory over Holly Holm in Brooklyn, New York.
The Dutch former world kickboxing champion took a unanimous judges decision against Holm – who was looking to become the first two-weight female champion in UFC history.
But the victory proved controversial after De Randamie twice landed solid punches to the face of Holm after the buzzer had sounded to mark the end of the round.
The referee did not deduct a point from the 32-year-old, who won 48-47 on each judge’s card, for either of the fouls. This led to boos from the crowd and sparked debate across Twitter following the referee’s lack of intervention along with fight commentator, Joe Rogan, who repeatedly emphasised the foul nature of De Randamie’s actions.
De Randamie’s kickboxing prowess saw her land more than 80 headshots to Holm, who ended Ronda Rousey’s bantamweight title reign in 2015.
Holm tried repeatedly to grapple De Randamie to the ground but failed to land any of her takedown attempts, though she rocked the kickboxer with a headkick towards the end of the third round.
The former boxer threw more punches at De Randamie, but the new champion’s shots were more effective.
“She didn’t want to fight me,” said De Randamie. “I hoped she was going to fight me. Holly was a tremendous champion, but I love to brawl.”
MMA legend Anderson Silva rolled back the years to claim an unlikely victory against Derek Brunson.
The 41-year-old former champion, who said fighting in New York was one of his dreams, was left in tears after taking the unanimous judges decision.
He came into the fight on the back of two losses and a win over Nick Diaz that was overturned following a failed drugs test.
Brunson started the fight brightly, brushing off Silva’s familiar wheel kick and landing several uppercuts while caught in the Brazilian’s clinch, but Silva gathered momentum as the fight progressed, showing signs of his trademark swagger.
Among the stars watching cageside was British boxing star Amir Khan, who said last year he was keen to fight UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
Khan, who is planning to bring his own India-based Super Fight League MMA group to the UK this year, was seen rubbing shoulders with MMA veteran Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino – who now looks set to be the first challenger to face De Randamie after her controversial win.
Earlier in the night, Dustin Poirier beat UFC veteran Jim Miller by a majority decision in a frenetic back-and-forward opening bout which had fans on their feet at the Barclays Centre.
Miller absorbed 66 shots to the head in the first two rounds alone, while Poirier was left unable to stand unaided by the end of the bout after suffering a knee injury.
“The Poirier-Miller fight was awesome,” said Dana White in a post fight interview, who seemed less than pleased with the night’s action on a whole.