MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Dutch fighter Germaine De Randamie becomes the first UFC women's featherweight champion, defeating Holly Holm by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 208 on Saturday, February 11 (Sunday Manila time) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
All 3 scorecards had it for De Randamie by the same mark, 48-47, to become the first Dutch UFC champion since Bas Rutten won the heavyweight championship at UFC 20 in 1999.
De Randamie, who had a kickboxing record of 37-0 before turning to mixed martial arts in 2008, was the superior counterpuncher from the opening moments of the fight, rocking the former UFC bantamweight and multiple-time boxing champion with her counter right hands.
De Randamie's best punch of the fight was an illegal blow as she stunned Holm with a clean right to the jaw after the horn to end the second round. Referee Todd Anderson opted not to take a point in this instance, and to the shock of many made the same call when De Randamie (7-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) did the same thing after the third round again, offering just a verbal warning of a point deduction.
The late hit after the third came after Holm (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) landed her best strike of the match to that point, a head kick which briefly dropped De Randamie.
Holm realized her best shot at victory would come with a takedown, though De Randamie did a good job of cage defense and prevented 8 takedowns while mixing in knees to the body whenever she got space. Holm landed her best strike of the match, a counter left cross which dropped De Randamie to a knee - just moments before Holm was cut by an accidental headbutt.
“She didn’t want to fight me," said De Randamie afterwards. "It wasn’t meant for me to hit her after the bell, I’m not like that."
With the win, De Randamie faces the possibility of a showdown with Cris Cyborg, the logical next biggest challenge in the 145-pound division, who was at ringside to watch the fight. The 32-year-old De Randamie said she would be open to the fight, but insisted she first had to get surgery on her hand, which she claims has torn ligaments.
"If Cyborg is my next fight, I’ll fight her. I need surgery on my hand first,” said De Randamie.
In the co-featured bout, Anderson Silva scored his first win since 2012, winning a debated 3-round decision over Derek Brunson by scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. – Rappler.com