De Ran­damie crowned first feath­er­weight champ

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY DAN GEL­STON

Ger­maine de Ran­damie clocked Holly Holm af­ter the bell in one round, then a sec­ond, and got noth­ing more than a warn­ing from the ref­eree.

De Ran­damie kept those piv­otal points on the score­card, and slapped a UFC cham­pi­onship belt over her shoul­der.

The 32-year-old Dutch kick­boxer shook off Holm’s clinch­ing and won by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion — 48-47 on each judge’s card — in the main event at UFC 208 on Satur­day night to be­come the first feath­er­weight cham­pion in the woman’s di­vi­sion.

De Ran­damie (7-3) dropped to her knees in cel­e­bra­tion as the Bar­clays Cen­ter crowd booed the end of a lack­lus­tre bout. UFC cre­ated the new 145-pound di­vi­sion in part as a show­case for Cris­tiane “Cy­borg” Justino.

Justino was the lone fan stand­ing in the front row to­ward the end of the five-round bout and stuck around to snap self­ies with fans. Justino’s UFC fate is in limbo be­cause of a dop­ing vi­o­la­tion that knocked her off the New York card.

“I want to fight every­body and I will fight any­body so we will see who is next,” de Ran­damie said.

A fight may not be on the im­me­di­ate hori­zon.

De Ran­damie, who also fought in Strike­force, said she needed surgery on one of her hands. UFC said de Ran­damie was taken to a hos­pi­tal.

Holm (10-3) has lost three straight bouts since she be­came the first fighter to de­feat Ronda Rousey in De­cem­ber 2015.

De Ran­damie rocked Holm with re­peated hits af­ter the bell in two rounds. She struck Holm with a right a tick af­ter the horn to end the sec­ond round that sent the crowd of 15,628 howl­ing. Holm shook de Ran­damie with a head kick near the end of the third. But de Ran­damie again thumped Holm just af­ter the bell and was walked to her cor­ner with ref­eree Todd An­der­son talk­ing in her ear. But she was never pe­nal­ized for the late blows.

“The sec­ond time, at that point you’d think they’d do some­thing,” Holm said.

De Ran­damie said the hits weren’t in­ten­tional.

“It was in the heat of the mo­ment. I apol­o­gized,” she said.

Like Holm, de Ran­damie moved up in weight for the shot at the ti­tle in the first UFC payper-view in 2017. She might be the least-known fighter on the card. But she walked out a champ.

“I came to fight and she didn’t want to fight me,” she said.

Holm may have fought in the main event for the last time in her UFC ca­reer. She heard un­flat­ter­ing com­par­isons all week to for­mer heavy­weight cham­pion Buster Dou­glas, who was a one-hit won­der in the fight game fol­low­ing his KO of Mike Tyson.

An­der­son Silva had one more big win left in the MMA oc­tagon, a pass­able per­for­mance to beat Derek Brun­son in the co-main event. Silva had the Brook­lyn crowd clearly on his side, and his fa­mil­iar dose of swag­ger and show­man­ship were on full dis­play in a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 vic­tory.

Silva crouched in his yel­low trunks, the crowd go­ing wild for “The Spi­der,” all hop­ing he could recre­ate the great­ness of his prime. He landed a spin kick to the body in the first round that rat­tled Brun­son but oth­er­wise never came close to dom­i­nat­ing the mid­dleweight bout.

Silva (34-8) was hit with emo­tion and ap­peared to choke back tears as he held a hand to his face. Chris Wei­d­man, who ended Silva’s dom­i­nant run in 2013, sat in the front row and nod­ded in ap­proval as the sell­out crowd chanted “Silva! Silva! Silva!”

Silva said he climbs inside the cage these days for love the sport and for his fam­ily and friends. Talk of fu­ture shots have faded into the back­ground, and this vic­tory over Brun­son (16-5) cer­tainly did noth­ing to prove he’s up next for an­other crack at the belt.

Dustin Poirier won a bru­tal, bloody bout in the PPV opener against Jim Miller that left both fight­ers bro­ken. Poirier tagged Miller with straight shots that cut him open above his eyes and cov­ered his face in blood.

Poirier ap­peared to sus­tain a se­ri­ous in­jury to his right an­kle. Poirier, a ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion win­ner in the light­weight bout, was down on the can­vas for a bit af­ter the bout ended and needed help from this cor­ner to sit on a stool. He was helped back on his brit­tle leg to the locker room and a stretcher soon fol­lowed him down the cor­ri­dor. UFC said Poirier was taken to a hos­pi­tal.

“I didn’t hear any­thing snap,” Poirier said. “It felt wob­bly the last cou­ple of rounds.”

Glover Teix­eira de­feated Jared Can­non­ier by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion in dull fight that brought out the New York boo birds.

Jacare Souza choked out Tim Boetsch at 3:41 of the first round and moved to 7-1 in UFC.

AP PHOTO

Ger­maine de Ran­damie (left) fights Holly Holm dur­ing a women’s feath­er­weight cham­pi­onship mixed mar­tial arts bout at UFC 208 early Sun­day in New York.

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