Holly Holm can’t take down Germaine De Randamie at UFC 208

Germaine De Randamie became the UFC’s first women’s featherweight champion Saturday, wrecking Holly Holm’s hope to become the fourth two-division champion in organization history.

De Randamie defused Holm’s plans to take her down, continually remaining upright, and she also impressively made Holm’s punches and kicks miss while landing the more impressive punches at Barclays Center.

De Randamie (7-3) was awarded victory by virtue of 48-47 scorecards turned in by all three judges.

Holm (10-3), the former bantamweight champion, had right to fume along with her cornermen after referee Todd Anderson twice failed to discipline De Randamie for punches landed on Holm after the horn ending the second and third rounds.


The loss was Holm’s third consecutive since her memorable head-kick knockout of Ronda Rousey in November 2015.

“It was in the heat of the moment. It wasn’t meant,” said De Randamie, a former champion kickboxer from the Netherlands. “I apologize. I’m not like that.”

Holm left the octagon without comment. She was clearly rocked by a punch to the head after the second round.

While Holm continually sought to press the action, she couldn’t consistently land shots on De Randamie, who won exchanges with counterpunches.


That caused Holm to attempt the takedowns, but she couldn’t do it — late in the first, halfway through the second and toward the close of the fourth.

After Holm’s coach, Mike Winkeljohn, berated referee Anderson for not acting on the late punches, Holm tried to press De Randamie to the cage. That only irked the fans and scored no points with the judges.

“It was close, but she didn’t want to fight me,” De Randamie said of the clinching.

While Holm landed some blows, De Randamie said her evasiveness, toughness and willingness to bring the fight decided the outcome.


“You cannot knock me out like that, come on,” De Randamie said after embracing her coaches and strapping on the new belt. “I love to brawl, love to fight, clinching is not my game.”

De Randamie’s first likely challenger, Cris “Cyborg” Santos, was in attendance, hopeful that her positive test for a diuretic in December will be excused with a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption instead of leading to a suspension.

But De Randamie cast even more doubt on when that fight will occur by announcing she suffered torn hand ligaments and that she’ll require surgery with an unknown timetable for recovery.

In the co-main event, Anderson Silva’s legend helped the 41-year-old, former middleweight champion to halt a five-fight winless skid against younger, overly cautious foe Derek Brunson by unanimous decision.


Judges gave Silva (34-8) scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, and while some disputed those numbers, sentiment ruled.

“I work hard a long time in my life,” Silva told the crowd afterward. “Sometimes, I have a pain in my leg, in my back. Sometimes, I leave my family for three months. To come here and fight and win is the best. I know I’m too old to fight. The young guys are too strong and fast, but I give my heart.”

Silva took some Brunson punches in a tentative first, but landed scoring kicks, including a spinning kick that inspired him to press the action against the UFC’s eighth-ranked middleweight.

Similar moments happened in the second when Silva landed a spinning back-fist and right kick to set up a punch, prompting him to bounce high on his feet while in an Ali-like boxing imitation.


Silva shrugged off Brunson’s punches in the third and landed effective jabs with a kick to the gut that answered a head kick by Brunson, who said he wouldn’t be intimidated by the Brazilian considered by some as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter in UFC history, but showed tentativeness after prior over-aggressive efforts.

Silva’s skid included two middleweight-title losses, and two other defeats were to current champions Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier. He also had a victory changed to a no-contest due to a doping violation.


Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire