Germaine de Randamie is the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champ.(Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

The first UFC pay-per-view of 2017 may not have had the most exciting card ever, and it certainly lacked the star power of the final UFC pay-per-view of 2016 (RIP Ronda Rousey’s career, it appears), but at least one bout on the five-fight main card made history. For the first time ever, the UFC crowned a women’s featherweight champion when Dutch kickboxer Germaine de Randamie beat Rousey’s first conqueror Holly Holm via unanimous decision.

It’s heartening that the judges didn’t oversell Holm’s clinching and paid more attention to the clean, hard counterpunches de Randamie landed over and over again. That said, at least two of those punches came after the bell rang signaling the end of the round, which left many fight fans wondering if the referee was doing his job. One of the shots appeared to rattle Holm, but it likely wasn’t what made the difference in her defeat.

It’s hard to say where Holm, who has now lost three in a row spread across two weight classes, goes from here. She still has a name and the skills to compete at a high level, but her star power could be fading.

Meanwhile, depending on the outcome of her latest failed drug tests, Cris Cyborg should be next for de Randamie. It’s hard not to be compelled by that matchup even if it’s one Cyborg should win handily.

In the co-main event, Anderson Silva tried to get back on track against Derek Brunson. It was a slow-paced affair that featured an aging Silva stalking while trying to maintain a slow pace, and Brunson, tentative after a knockout loss in his last fight, mostly tried to clinch and work takedowns to little effect. Still, most thought Brunson had done enough to win, and it was a surprise when Silva, who will turn 42 in April, walked away with a unanimous decision.

Perhaps the most surprised was Brunson himself, who immediately took to social media to vent his frustrations.

“‪Wow unreal,” Brunson posted to Facebook. “I put my heart & soul out there on 3 weeks notice only to get it taken from me. I just outclassed the greatest of all time.”

Silva, of course, was too busy giving the shirt off his back to a fan to immediately respond.

Two of the brightest spots on the rather dull card came from the barnburner lightweight matchup between Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller and Jacare Souza’s impressive first-round submission of Tim Boetsch, the lone finish on the card. Even Poirier’s win, however, was marred by a serious leg injury he suffered in victory.

According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, the fighter was rushed to the hospital after the victory, where the extent of his injuries remains unknown.

Scroll down to check out how the fights went round-by-round, and drop us a line about what you thought in the comments or on Twitter. We can be found @MarissaPayne and @Patrick_Wyman.

Germaine de Randamie def. Holly Holm via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)

Round 1: De Randamie is looking to stalk early, trying to cut off the cage and force Holm back to the cage, but Holm is doing a good job of maintaining distance and coming in with punch-kick combinations. By contrast, de Randamie is attacking Holm’s legs whenever she can, trying to slow down the mobile fighter and bank attrition for the later rounds. De Randamie’s pressure is excellent, and she’s starting to get Holm’s timing as she tries to stick and then move, landing a series of sharp counterpunches. The power difference appears to be substantial, with de Randamie’s punches visibly moving Holm when they land. Holm’s blitzes haven’t been especially effective, and when she comes in on a straight line, she’s open to the counter. As they clinch for the first time, de Randamie fights off the takedown and attempts one of her own, but neither gets much done. 10-9 de Randamie on the basis of the cleaner, harder strikes.

Round 2: Holm’s trying to stick de Randamie on the end of her side kicks to open up the blitzes, but de Randamie isn’t feeling the kicks at all. When Holm tries to blitz, de Randamie is stepping back to an angle and throwing a right hand across the plane of Holm’s body, the same inside-angle counter Conor McGregor is fond of throwing. When they clinch again, Holm does a good job of avoiding de Randamie’s nasty knees, but her takedown game isn’t good enough to get much done. When de Randamie spins and presses her against the fence, the knees to the body come fast and furious. There’s a visible difference in the power behind de Randamie’s knees and Holm’s, largely because de Randamie is getting her hips back and driving into them as she throws: beautiful technique. A punch from de Randamie lands just after the bell and visibly rocks Holm. 10-9 de Randamie in the second and 20-18 overall.

Round 3: The right-hand counter is landing for de Randamie practically every time Holm tries to blitz now. It’s hard and clean, and if it keeps landing it’s only a matter of time until Holm really feels it. De Randamie is letting her kicks go a bit more now, perhaps unworried by the prospect of Holm’s takedown game after the former champ’s failures in the first two rounds, and they’re snapping and hard. As they clinch again, Holm tries for a takedown, but it comes up short. She’s having no success there. 10-9 Holm in the third and 29-28 de Randamie overall.

In the meantime, fans online were getting livid over the referee, who they thought let de Randamie his Holm again after the bell. So many GIFs.

Round 4: Holm clinches again. The outlines of her plan are becoming clear: wear de Randamie down with the clinch whenever possible, minimize the exchanges and blitz with combinations at range. It’s successful in spots, but de Randamie doesn’t appear to be slowing much, and Holm isn’t having success with anything other than the occasional kick. It’s hard to tell how the judges are scoring these clinch exchanges, though: de Randamie is landing the harder knees, but Holm is the one pressing her against the fence even if she’s not generating any real offense. 10-9 de Randamie in the fourth and 39-37 in her favor overall.

Round 5: Holm’s tossing a lot of volume out there but not landing much of anything, while de Randamie isn’t throwing much but is landing what she does. That opens up a real question of how the judges are scoring this, whether they value activity or damage. Finally Holm produces some real offense and staggers de Randamie with a left hand, but then immediately clinches and negates her advantage. Holm seems to be getting into her flow here, sticking some mustard on her punches and kicks and finding her range. She clinches yet again and eats up an entire minute against the fence without doing anything meaningful, but the referee refuses to break them. 10-9 Holm in the fifth and 48-47 de Randamie overall.

Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)


Derek Brunson, right, lands a punch against Anderson Silva. (Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

Anderson Silva came into this fight saying he mostly just wanted to entertain the fans. At age 41, perhaps that’s all he could hope for… except he won. And, no, you’re not crazy. That’s not how most people would’ve scored the fight, but frankly, Brunson did so little that it’s hard to be too angry about the decision.

Brunson’s trainer Greg Jackson was right when he encouraged his fighter to come forward and give Silva less respect, but it was too little, too late. Brunson needs to find a happy medium between his recklessness and the tentative approach he showed tonight, and should get someone on the fringe of the Top 10. There’s no reason for Silva to be fighting contenders after that; put him in with another legend, someone like Vitor Belfort.

Silva, a crowd favorite, came into the fight with a brand-new song, too, courtesy of his son Kalyl.

Do you like it, Amir Khan?

If you like it, here’s the full version.

And now, back to the fight…

Round 1: Brunson is eschewing his face-first style here early, refusing to engage against one of the best counterpunchers in the sport’s history. Silva is avoiding Brunson’s probing strikes, gauging the timing and the distance. A sharp right-hook counter reaches out and nearly clips Brunson, and Silva gets aggressive, pursuing with a combination. When they clinch, the younger man’s physicality is clear, but so is Silva’s technical prowess as he shakes off Brunson and gets back to open space. Anderson eats a couple of shots, but takes them well and delivers a series of hard knees in the clinch. His takedown defense is on point tonight, and his command of timing and distance is giving him plenty of time to react. They clinch again, and Brunson lands a series of hard uppercuts that seem to stun Silva. A flying knee misses for Silva, and he ends the round on his back. Really, really close, but we’ll say 10-9 Brunson for the uppercuts.

Round 2: Brunson is overcoming the urge to be reckless, mixing in takedowns with his work in the clinch. He’s quite tentative on the feet, and while that’s preventing him from landing much, it’s also not giving Silva many opportunities to counter. Silva’s defense is on point, moving his head and rolling with the shots as they come in. Finally Brunson gets the takedown, running through a nice double-leg, but he can’t hold Silva on the mat. As they clinch, Brunson’s strength is clear, but Silva’s crisp technique is preventing him from getting much done. Silva gets aggressive as the round winds down, picking off Brunson with jabs and landing sharp kicks and knees. Slow round, but that late aggression was enough for Silva to take it 10-9. 19-19 going into the third.

Round 3: In the corner, master trainer Greg Jackson told Brunson that he was giving Silva too much respect, and Brunson takes that to heart as he comes out aggressive to open the round. While Brunson isn’t accomplishing much in the clinch, he’s shortening the fight and limiting Silva’s chances in the striking exchanges. When they get back to open space, Silva goes after him, working the body and looking for knees as Brunson ducks. It’s clear that Silva is slowing down, though, and the pace is wearing on him. He gives up an easy takedown, a clear sign of fatigue. Brunson isn’t doing much from the top, but it’s still enough to grind out the end of the round. 10-9 Brunson in the third and 29-28 to Brunson overall in a slow, deliberate fight.

Meanwhile, Yankees legend Mariano Rivera’s in the building.

Ronaldo Souza def. Tim Boetsch via submission


Ronaldo Souza, of Brazil, celebrates after winning a middleweight mixed martial arts bout against Tim Boetsch at UFC 208 on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in New York. Souza won the fight by submission. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Hooray! After seven fights that ended in decision finishes, fight fans finally got some variety when Souza got the kimura on Boetsch. The finish, of course, wasn’t a surprise. Souza should be fighting top-ranked middleweights, but this was a trap fight and he still delivered in style. Give him Luke Rockhold or someone else among the elite, perhaps the Mousasi-Weidman winner after they fight at UFC 210 in April?

Round 1: Souza’s game depends on forward movement, pushing his opponent back to the fence where he can hit power shots and wrestle, and Boetsch is doing a good job of denying him early by moving through the cage. That’s what allows Boetsch to stuff Jacare’s first takedown attempt with a nice sprawl. Souza’s patiently stalking, though, and he finds the right moment to duck under a Boetsch right hand and hit a nice double-leg. Immediately Souza, perhaps the best guard-passer in MMA, steps over into side control and then into the mount. The fight-ending kimura follows shortly. Jacare Souza defeats Tim Boetsch by submission (kimura) at 3:41 of the first round.

Glover Teixeira defeats Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)


Glover Teixeira, top, grapples with Jared Cannonier. (Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

The wrestling and grappling gap between these two was cavernous, and it’s what won the fight for Teixeira despite that he looked a bit shopworn and wobbly on the feet. This loss won’t likely be much of a setback for Cannonier, however, who obviously showed some holes he needs to fix. Teixeira, meanwhile, holds steady as one of the best light heavyweights in the world and a fight with someone like Alexander Gustafsson or the winner of Gian Villante vs. Shogun Rua would make sense.

Round 1: Cannonier has his feet moving early, cutting angles and staying away from the fence as Teixeira attempts to pressure. The first time Teixeira tries for a takedown — a snatch single-leg — he gets it effortlessly. Cannonier’s butterfly guard from his back isn’t enough to move Teixeira’s heavy base on top, and Teixeira postures up to land some heavy ground strikes. When Cannonier scrambles, Teixeira grabs his neck and tries for a guillotine. No matter for Teixeira that the submission doesn’t succeed, as he spins around and gets on top. Teixeira’s top game is just gorgeous, and it’s obvious he’s operating three steps ahead of Cannonier every time the American tries something. With 15 seconds left, Cannonier manages to get to his feet, and he wobbles Teixeira with a brutal combination as time expires. 10-9 Teixeira. If this stays standing, it’s an intriguing fight, but if it goes to the ground again Cannonier will be lucky to survive.

Round 2: Teixeira’s pressure is nowhere to be found as the second round gets underway, and Cannonier blasts him with a hard combination. Once again, though, Teixeira effortlessly grabs a snatch single and drops Cannonier to the mat. It’s clear that Cannonier’s struggles with his takedown defense are an ongoing issue. While he’s not winning from his back, Cannonier has done a good job of preventing Teixeira from posturing up too much and landing serious offense. On the other hand, Cannonier isn’t threatening and he has to rely on the referee to stand them back up. Teixeira’s head is staying right on the center line, which is making it easy for Cannonier to land every straight punch he throws. Cannonier’s jab in particular is snapping Teixeira’s head back. If he could stay off his back, he’d have a good shot of really hurting Teixeira. 10-9 Teixeira in the second and 20-18 overall.

Round 3 Immediately Teixeira gets his pressure going, and Cannonier manages to keep it standing for just 25 seconds before he falls to the single-leg yet again. Cannonier is just good enough defensively that he can avoid the worst of the damage, but he can’t hold on forever against an elite black belt, and finally he gives up the mount and then his back to Teixeira. The Brazilian is raining down ground shots, looking for the opportunity to slip in a submission. After a brief escape, Teixeira mounts yet again, and it appears we’ve reached the end of Cannonier’s defensive skills and gas tank as Teixeira rains down heavy punches and elbows. 10-8 Teixeira in the third and 30-26 in his direction overall.

Meanwhile, this won’t be awkward at all…

Cyborg, of course, was the fighter UFC President Dana White apparently created the women’s featherweight division for. Due to a failed drug test, however, Cyborg couldn’t take the fight.

Dustin Poirier def. Jim Miller via majority decision (28-28, 30-27, 29-28)


Dustin Poirier, left, takes on Jim Miller. (Anthony Geathers/Getty Images)

After a lackluster undercard, this was the jolt fight fans needed to kickstart the maincard. While Poirier looks to have suffered a serious leg injury, perhaps a broken shin, which will put a bit of a dent in his momentum, his performance was outstanding. He’s a puncher by nature, and the key for him moving forward is building on what he does best — exchanging in the pocket, while minimizing the amount of damage he takes. A matchup with an action-oriented fighter in the Top 10, perhaps the winner of Edson Barboza vs. Beneil Dariush, would be hot fire.

As for Miller, he’ll continue to occupy the niche he’s owned for a while, as an action fighter on the fringe of the Top 15. This was an excellent performance from him and he has nothing to hang his head about.

Round 1: Poirier is looking more measured than he has in recent fights, as he tried to bull his way into the pocket to initiate exchanges, and landed some low kicks at distance. Miller’s quick and sharp, though, sticking his jab out there and working the body with his left hand. When the opportunity comes, Poirier gets his head moving in the pocket and drops a nice counter before stuffing a takedown. When they exchange again, Poirier’s edge in power and combination flow is clear, landing a couple of good shots with Miller’s back to the fence. Poirier’s counters are looking excellent as he replies to Miller’s kick with a left hand, and his head movement is much sharper than it’s been in the past. A caught kick turns into a trip for Poirier, but in the scramble that follows Miller succeeds in getting to the back. Poirier spins out and winds up on top, which leads to a fantastic exchange to end the round in which both men land. 10-9 Poirier in a fun, close round.

Round 2: Miller’s getting his own counter game going early, replying to Poirier’s kicks and jabs with punching combinations. When they exchange, though, Poirier’s edge in power and his ability to pick his shots comes through clearly. He has Miller’s back to the fence and he’s landing hard shots, but he’s eating a few in return. Miller doesn’t like Poirier’s pressure and he’s backing to the fence, where he’s eating combination after combination. Despite Poirier’s emphasis on defense and a more measured approach in this training camp, he can’t resist the siren song of the exchange. He’s winning them, to be sure, but he’s still taking more shots than he’d probably prefer. Durability has always been a strength for Miller, and Poirier is doing everything he can to test his chin. With a minute left, Poirier shows off his takedown game and trips an exhausted Miller to the mat. The pace in this fight has been ridiculous, and it seems to be wearing more on Miller than Poirier. 10-9 Poirier in the second and 20-18 overall.

Round 3: Miller comes out firing and plants a couple of good shots on Poirier’s chin to open the round. He’s been working Poirier’s lead leg with kicks the whole fight, and that’s paying dividends now because it seems like there’s something wrong with Poirier’s right leg. Poirier’s mobility is gone and he’s seriously hurt, but he manages to grab one of Miller’s kicks to get a takedown. That was exactly what Poirier needed to eat up some time and minimize the apparent injury. While Miller’s guard is dangerous, Poirier has him smashed up against the fence, and there’s nowhere for Miller’s hips to go for triangles, armbars and sweeps. Somehow, Poirier manages to get Miller down again despite grimacing in obvious pain. Miller’s trying for a kimura from the bottom now, but Poirier pulls out and lands some hard ground strikes to finish the fight. Great scrap between two tough, talented guys. 10-9 Miller in the third and 29-28 Poirier overall.

In the meantime, NBA stars are having a great time being in the stands for once, including the Brooklyn Nets’ Jeremy Lin and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker.

Prelims recap:

Well, that was underwhelming… It was clear going in that the early bouts lacked much in the way of name value, but there was some hope that the well-matched fights would deliver some action and draw a few viewers into the main card.

Whatever they looked like on paper, the result was a series of slow-paced decisions.

Ryan LaFlare nearly finished Roan Carneiro while cruising to a victory in front of his native New York crowd, and Rick Glenn took a tight one over Phillipe Nover in a rather dull fight. Russia’s Islam Makhachev dominated American wrestler Nik Lentz in a stifling performance that showed off the Dagestan native’s otherworldly grappling and wrestling chops, but it didn’t do much to raise the pulse of anyone who hadn’t spent years on the mats. A decision win against the overmatched Ulka Sasaki likely halted flyweight contender Wilson Reis’ attempt to stake a claim on a title shot against Demetrious Johnson. The main event on Fox Sports 1, a welterweight prospect fight between Belal Muhammad and Randy Brown, likewise turned into a 15-minute scrap that Muhammad gutted out with leg kicks and takedowns. It wasn’t a bad fight, but as the fifth consecutive decision, things had begun to drag.

Prelims results

Belal Muhammad def. Randy Brown via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Wilson Reis def. Ulka Sasaki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Islam Makhachev def. Nik Lentz via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-27)
Rick Glenn def. Phillipe Nover via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Ryan LaFlare def. Roan Carneiro via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)



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