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Holm, De Randamie feeling pumped about UFC title bout

Holly Holm

Holly Holm is all smiles after completing her workout in New York on Thursday. Holm lost her bantamweight title to Miesha Tate, who used a chokehold in the fifth round to earn the victory.

(Amanda Westcott)

Holly Holm appreciated the gesture from a UFC publicist who placed a public workout this week at famed boxing gym Gleason’s in Brooklyn.

When Holm was a professional boxer in 2008, she successfully defended a minor world-title belt by defeating Gleason’s-trained fighter Belinda Laracuerte at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.

Any reminder of victory is especially appreciated by Holm (10-2) as she seeks to end a two-fight losing streak in Saturday night’s UFC 208 main event at Barclays Center, where she’ll meet fellow contender Germaine De Randamie (6-3).

The bout is for the UFC’s newly created women’s featherweight division, and if Holm wins, she’ll join storied company in B.J. Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor as the only multidivision champions in organization history.

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“This is nerves in a whole different way,” Holm said when asked to compare her prefight feelings before knocking out then-unbeaten bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey by a head kick in 2015 and now.

“It’s the first time for the 145-pound division. I have the opportunity to get world titles in two different weight classes. And I’m also coming off two consecutive losses, so she might be thinking, ‘I’ve got her while she’s down.’ ”

After surrendering the bantamweight title in a March fifth-round submission loss to Miesha Tate, then performing lethargically by her standards in a July decision loss to No. 1 bantamweight contender Valentina Shevchenko, Holm is driven to escape her rut and claim another belt.

“I’m twice as motivated and twice as excited to get in there,” Holm said. “A lot of people will give up. That’s not going to be me. My losses have given me ambition. I hate to lose.”

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The prior dominance of the Netherlands’ De Randamie in kickboxing could force Holm to tweak her fight plan. 

On Friday, Holm weighed in at 144.4 pounds and De Randamie was 143.6.

De Randamie, 32, is actually a slight minus-130 betting favorite over Holm at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, and she flashed impressive punching power during her Thursday workout at Gleason’s.

The effusive De Randamie said she is thrilled to have risen from virtual obscurity in the UFC to this title shot, which came after dominant Southland-trained Brazilian Cris “Cyborg” Justino rejected featherweight fight offers from UFC President Dana White and then submitted a positive test for a banned diuretic.

“How can you not enjoy it?” De Randamie said. “This is the moment. You’ve got to live up to the pressure, but I feel so amazing … let’s do this.”

De Randamie said while she has respect for Holm, she touted her 46-0 kickboxing record and said she’s previously fought a man 30 pounds heavier in an exhibition bout, winning by knockout.

“It was for TV … I said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ” De Randamie said. “He hit me a lot. The first thing I thought after I hit him was, ‘Keep your hands up.’

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“I know I’m facing a tremendous athlete in Holly Holm. I have to be on top of my game. Any mistake I make can be fatal. They want to see us bang it out. Let’s bang it out.”

Meanwhile, Jeff Novitzky, UFC vice president of athlete health and affairs, said Friday that there have been encouraging recent developments to Justino’s plea for approval of a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the banned diuretic spironolactone.

The World Anti-Doping Agency Code stipulates that if an athlete is using spironolactone for polycystic ovarian syndrome, as “Cyborg” contends, a TUE will be granted if the athlete can prove irregular menstrual cycles, unwanted male-pattern hair growth and measurable ovarian cysts via ultrasound.

“In my experience, when we have seen [the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] follow up with a fighter on a TUE exemption, it’s a good sign that they find merit in the request,” Novitzky said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “While we are encouraged by the followup, the UFC is not privy to USADA’s deliberations on the matter. What we do know is that the decision will be fair and reasoned.”

White said Friday that if the retroactive TUE is granted to “Cyborg,” she’ll fight the Holm-De Randamie winner next.

UFC 208

Who: Holly Holm (10-2) vs. Germaine De Randamie (6-3) for new women’s featherweight belt.

When: Saturday, 7 p.m. (PST).

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Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Television: Pay-per-view, $59.95.

Undercard: No. 7 Anderson Silva (33-8) vs. No. 8 Derek Brunson (16-4), middleweights; No. 3 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (23-4) vs. No. 13 Tim Boetsch (20-10), middleweights; No. 3 Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. No. 15 Jared Cannonier (9-1), light-heavyweights

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire

 

 


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