Everything you need to know about this weekend’s UFC 208 fight between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie for the first ever UFC women’s featherweight championship.
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For the first time since December 2014, the UFC is introducing a new weight class, the women’s featherweight division. The need for more women’s divisions in MMA and the UFC has been a central debate for years, and the new women’s 145-pound division came into existence with an eye towards building around women’s MMA icon Cris Cyborg. The Invicta FC featherweight champion wasn’t ready to cut weight, forcing her out of the inaugural title bout.
Instead, former bantamweight champion Holly Holm gets a crack at becoming the first woman in UFC history to win two belts, and could become just the fourth UFC champion to accomplish the feat. Holm sent shockwaves through women’s MMA with a headkick that removed Ronda Rousey from the throne of women’s MMA at UFC 193.
“That was my first big title fight with the UFC and it was a huge deal,” Holm said of the Rousey bout. “There are nerves that I felt for that fight that I’ll never feel again.”
Since that historic win, Holm has hit a rough patch. She relinquished the belt in her next fight after Miesha Tate locked in a rear naked choke, then lost a decisive decision to Valentina Shevchenko in July.
Standing in her way is UFC veteran Germaine de Randamie, a dangerous striker in her own right with an extensive history in kickboxing and a lethal clinch game.
“I’m also coming off two losses, so she might think ‘I have her when she is down,’ Holm said of de Randamie. “Coming off those losses, I’m twice as motivated.”
In the co-main event, Anderson Silva—considered the greatest fighter in the sport’s history—returns to fight Derek Brunson. Silva holds the record for most consecutive title victories, but is coming off a string of losses. A loss to current middleweight champion Michael Bisping a year ago was controversial, and his second fight was a loss to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a non-title bout at a higher weight class.
Silva still thinks he has a run at the title in him, and Brunson said he is expecting a Silva in his prime.
“I look at his past couple fights the guy just had a couple of unfortunate events,” Brunson said. “Bisping is the champ, he knocked the guy out, then they restart the match because of the mouthpiece thing. Just a whole bunch of weird events.
“The guy might have slowed down a little bit, but he is still fighting faster than 95 percent of middleweights.”
Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie have never met in the UFC octagon. In the world of combat sports, both are seasoned vets, though the edge might lie with Holm.
Holm was a world champion boxer who dabbled in kickboxing before making the jump to MMA. She was the first woman to dethrone Rousey, doing so with a vicious head kick to win the bantamweight crown. She is currently on a two-fight losing streak, dropping the belt to Miesha Tate after a miraculous submission in a fight Holm dominated. Valentina Shevchenko got the better of Holm over the course of five rounds and is next in line to fight for the title.
Holm has been more active in the UFC in recent years, with five fights over the last two years. Across the cage, de Randamie has four UFC fights dating =to 2013, with just two over the past two years.
De Randamie is a world class kickboxer, compiling a 37-0 record and a talented Muay Thai practitioner. De Randamie’s last loss came in 2013 to Amanda Nunes, the reigning women’s bantamweight champion, but Holm has faced better competition in recent years.
Tale of the Tape
GERMAINE DE RANDAMIE
October 17, 1981
April 24, 1984
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
FIGHTING OUT OF
* Official weights announced at the weigh-in (Friday, 6 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)
Last Five Fights
de randamie (6-3)
7/23/2016 – Valentina Shevchenko – L Unanimous Dec.
5/8/2015 – Anna Elmose – W TKO, Rd. 1
3/5/2016 – Miesha Tate – L Sub., Rd. 5**
3/14/2015 – Larissa Pacheco – W TKO, Rd. 2
11/15/2015 – Ronda Rousey – W TKO., Rd. 2*
11/6/2013 – Amanda Nunes – L TKO, Rd. 1
7/15/2015 – Marion Reneau – W Unanimous Dec.
7/27/2013 – Julie Kedzie – W Split Dec.
2/28/2015 – Raquel Pennington – W Split Dec.
8/18/2012 – Hiroko Yamanaka – W Unanimous Dec.
* – Won the UFC Bantamweight Championship
**- Lost the UFC Bantamweight Championship
Other Numbers To Count On
2: Holly Holm has the potential to become the first woman to win a UFC championship in two weight classes, and only the fourth UFC fighter in history to achieve the feat.
16:54: Average fight time for Holm, almost twice as long as that of de Randamie.
40: Germaine de Randamie claims to have knocked out a man who weighed 40 pounds more than her.
Holly Holm will always be remembered as the woman to dethrone Ronda Rousey in stunning fashion at UFC 193.
Germaine de Randamie‘s last win was her fastest in her UFC career, a defeat of Anna Elmose via TKO in the first-round of UFC Rotterdam.
Bovada has de Randamie as a slight favorite, with a -130 money line (bet $130 to win $100.) Holm isn’t necessarily a big under dog, however, with even odds.
The surprise might be that Derek Brunson is a favorite over Anderson Silva in the co-main event, albeit not a huge one. Brunson has a money line of -150 (bet $150 to win $100), while Silva has a +120 moneyline (bet $100 to win $120). The card is littered with some huge favorites including Ronaldo Souza (-550), Dustin Poirier (-450) and Wilson Reis (-600).
This fight will all come down to who manages to maintain distance. Holm is the more experienced boxer and kick boxer, and could do well from range. Her opponent, de Randamie, is a Muay Thai specialist who thrives in the clinch and also has experience wreslting.
If Holm can keep de Randamie away and attack from distance, like she did when she fought Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, Holm should be able to walk away with the title and a bit of history.
“I want both belts. Not just because it would make history. That’s awesome, but because I had that [bantamweight] belt and I let it go. I want it back.”
“A lot of people don’t know my credentials in kickboxing. I’ve fought the best, the top of the top, the best female fighters in the world–in three weight divisions. I fought a man who had 40 pounds over me, and I knocked him out.”
– Germaine de Randamie in an interview with MMA Junkie
The Rest of the Card
Anderson Silva (33-8, 1NC) vs. Derek Brunson (16-4), middleweight. Ronald “Jacare” Souza (23-4, 1 NC) vs. Tim Boetsch (20-10), middleweight. Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. Jared Cannonier (9-1), light heavyweight. Dustin Poirier (20-5) vs. Jim Miller (29-8, 1NC), lightweight.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims (8 p.m. ET): Randy Brown (9-1) vs. Belal Muhammad (10-2), welterweight; Wilson Reis (21-6) vs. Ulka Sasaki (19-3-2), flyweight; Nik Lentz (29-7-2, 1NC) vs. Islam Makhachev (13-1), lightweight; Ian McCall (13-5-1) vs. Jarred Brooks (11-0), flyweight. . Fight Pass Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Pass): Marcin Tybura (14-2) vs. Justin Willis (4-1), heavyweight; Ryan LaFlare (12-1) vs. Roan Carneiro (21-10), welterweight; Rick Glenn (18-4-1) vs. Phillipe Nover (11-7-1), featherweight.
The card will be broadcast across three platforms: Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET), Fox Sports 1, (8 p.m. ET) and pay-per-view (10 p.m. ET). Todd Grisham will handle the play-by-play during the broadcast while Joe Rogan adds analysis.