For the second time in New York City, the UFC set out to make history with former bantamweight champion Holly Holm taking on Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural women's featherweight title in the main event of UFC 208 at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.
When the dust settled, is was de Randamie taking the belt—though, not without some controversy.
After the bell to end the second round, de Randamie connected with a right that seemed to wobble Holm. An illegal blow, that brought the boo birds out of the crowd.
Holm ended the third round with a big high kick, and followed with another kick and appeared to have de Randamie on the defensive. de Randamie recovered and began the onslaught and landed another strike after the bell at the end of the round.
"She caught me in the third round," de Randamie said. "It was a good kick but you won’t knock me out that way and I kept coming. She didn’t want to fight me but I am a warrior and I came here to fight. It was an accident to hit her after the bell, it was never intentional. It was just the heat of the moment. I am not that kind of fighter."
Despite the late hits, de Randamie was the more effective striker, landing a greater number of punches while throwing less. She landed 157 strikes to Holm's 93, and 76 significant strikes to 45.
Holm, a prolific boxer and known as a striker, was unable to get control of the standing game against de Randamie, a renowned kickboxer. Not gaining the upperhand, Holm elected to wrestle, but was unable to get de Randamie to the ground. The result was inneffective clinches with little action. While Holm had over eight minutes of control time in the clinch, the lack of action forced the referee to split the fighters twice.
In the end, de Randamie got the win on the judges' scorecards (48-47, 48-47, 48-47).
"It was a close fight," she said. "Holly is a tremendous champion and I truly respect her but I am a brawler and I love to fight. I want to fight everybody and I will fight anybody so we will see who is next. I want to thank my team and the fans in Brooklyn, who have been amazing to me. Thank you very much."
Many fans and pundits alike feel Cris Cyborg, the Invicta FC featherweight champion, should have been in the fight. Cyborg was sitting cage side and de Randamie said aftwerward that an eventual title bout with Cybog would have to wait until she had surgery to repair torn ligaments in her hand.