Controversy abounded in the two top fights at UFC 208, with Germaine De Randamie hitting Holly Holm with a punch after the second round bell that knocked out Holm’s mouthguard and left her on wobbly legs. At the end of the third De Randamie did it again, throwing wildly as the round ended but missing Holm following the bell. The cherry on the sundae was a clash of heads that left Holly with a huge bleeding egg above her eye halfway through the fifth round.
To De Randamie’s credit, none of this seemed intentional, simply sloppy. Both instances of shots after the bell happened during flurries from both fighters while she was in the middle of a combination. But at a certain point, you need to hold a fighter accountable. The New York referee didn’t, simply leveling a warning at her following the second late volley.
Past that, the two women went to war for 25 minutes, with De Randamie hitting Holm over and over early in the fight, using her kickboxing more effectively than Holm was her boxing. As the fight wore on, Holm had better success by mixing in some takedown attempts and working De Randamie against the cage, but it wasn’t enough. Germaine De Randamie took the belt with all three judges scoring the fight 48-47. Yep, if the ref had taken a point for those late punches, it would have been a draw.
The win sets up a likely showdown with Cris Cyborg, widely considered to be the best female fighter in the world. The women’s featherweight division was effectively set up for Cyborg since she was unable to fight at a lighter weight, but past cuts to 140 pound catchweights left Cris too ill to compete by February.
A failed USADA test seemed to put her further out of the title picture, but UFC president Dana White recently said her case with USADA looks good. Cyborg maintains the drug failure was a result of treatments the toll cutting to 140 took on her body and it seems like USADA may agree, freeing her up for a big fight with Germaine. Based on what we saw tonight, it’d be a good one.
In the co-main event, a relaxed and happy Anderson Silva cruised to a decision win many observers felt should have gone Derek Brunson’s way. Brunson simply gave more output during the fight, punishing Silva with endless punches in the clinch which Silva made no attempt to block or avoid. There was little urgency in Silva’s game or killer instinct. Simply put, he made no concerted effort to win each round, and as a result was edged out in at least two out of three … or so we thought.
When the scorecards were read, Silva got two 29-28s and one 30-27, handing him his first win in two years. Derek Brunson will have to take solace in the fact that he not only hung with Silva, he won in most people’s eyes.
In other action:
Ronaldo Souza defeats Tim Boetsch vis Submission (kimura) at 3:41 of round 1
Glover Teixeira defeats Jared Cannonier via Decision (unanimous) (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Dustin Poirier defeats Jim Miller via Decision (majority) (28-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Belal Muhammad defeats Randy Brown via Decision (unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Wilson Reis defeats Ulka Sasaki via Decision (unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Islam Makhachev defeats Nik Lentz via Decision (unanimous) (30-25, 30-25, 30-27)
Rick Glenn defeats Phillipe Nover via Decision (split) (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Ryan LaFlare defats Roan Carneiro via Decision (unanimous) (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)