Was it a knockdown? Was it a pushdown? We debate the sparring session video of Conor McGregor and Paul Malignaggi. Plus will Ronda Rousey and the WWE benefit from her potentially entering the wrestling world? And more!
Was it a knockdown? Was it a pushdown? We debate the sparring session video of Conor McGregor and Paul Malignaggi. Plus will Ronda Rousey and the WWE benefit from her potentially entering the wrestling world? And more!
Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California played host the King of the Cage Groundbreaking event on Saturday May 6th. Despite the frosty weather conditions in the outdoor setting, the fighters did not allow it to hold them back as the night was filled with plenty of finishes. The event was headlined by an Atomweight championship bout as champion Andy Nguyen took on challenger Bi Nguyen in an intense and action filled fight.
The bout had an interesting layer to it as Bi was last fighter to defeat Andy. The fight, which took place in July of 2016, also happened to be Bi’s pro debut. Since their first meeting, both fighters have rattled off two consecutive wins. Andy was victorious in a King of the Cage bout against Cassie Rob and then went over to Japan and defeated Miyu Yamamoto for the Rizin promotion. Bi has been equally as busy as she defeated Katie Saull in the TKO Fight Alliance promotion and then defeating Jayme Hinshaw for a King of the Cage event. Saturday night was Bi’s third fight in 2017. The main event fight turned out to be a gritty and intense affair with neither fighter willing to back down. The fight would go the full 25-minutes with Andy coming out on top. A third bout is rumored to be in the works and when asked about a tie breaker with Bi, Andy stated she would take on whoever they put in front of her.
The night also saw former professional skateboarder Jason Ellis enter the cage for the second time in his pro MMA career as he took on veteran and King of the Cage staple Gabe Rivas. There was a bit of smack talking leading up to this bout which got the crowd emotionally into the fight. The fight was not a technical masterpiece but the crowd was into every minute of it and after surviving a few scary moments Ellis was able to secure a submission victory with just one second left in the bout.
You can read a round by round breakdown of all the fights from Saturday night’s Groundbreaking event below.
Main Card Results:
Atomweight Championship: Andy Nguyen def. Bi Nguyen via unanimous decision.
Both fighters take the center of the cage and exchange strikes. Andy wraps up Bi and pushes her to the cage. After a few moments of inactivity the referee separates the women. Andy lands punch and kick combination that pushes Bi to the cage. Bi forces herself forward with a punching combo. Both women share the center of the cage and trade strikes. Bi chargers forward and gest caught by Andy. The punch sends Bi back and she falls to the canvas. She quickly recovers before Andy can swarm and the bell sounds.
Andy comes out aggressive and lands a punching combination on Bi. Bi keeps moving forward and wraps up Andy. Bi takes down Andy and lands a few hammer fists and punches. The referee stands them up even though Bi was keeping busy on top. Andy takes advantage of the stand up and charges at Bi landing a few punches. Andy continues to press forward landing kicks and punches.
Andy starts the round by pressing forward and throwing punches and kicks. One of her punches lands and cuts Bi open above the eye. Bi senses Andy’s momentum and goes for a takedown and lands it. Andy is able to get back to her feet and clinch up. The two fighters trade knees. Andy lands a hard knee to the body of Bi. Bi goes lands a double leg takedown and lands in the guard of Andy. From the guard Bi connects with a few elbows to the face. Andy reverses and is now on top but Bi goes for an armbar. Andy manages to escape and moves into the guard of Bi. From there Andy lands more punches that worsens the cut on Bi’s face. Bi holds the top of Andy’s head preventing her from doing any more damage. After a few moments of inactivity the referee stands them up. The bell sounds before the two can engage.
Andy and Bi meet in the center of the cage and exchange. Both fighters are still bouncing around and have incredible stamina as we enter the championship rounds. They trade kicks but neither fighter lands anything significant. Both seem to be a little more cautious this late into the fight. Andy charges forward and lands a punch to Bi but is taken down right after. Bi does little to advance her position and the referee stands them up. As they gather themselves Bi lands a right hook but Andy responds with a left/right combo of her own to close out the round.
Andy lands a right hook to start the round. Andy’s cardio is still holding up as she is throwing combination after combination to start the fifth round. Despite the high volume of strikes from Andy, Bi is not backing down. Andy continues to stalk Bi and throw combos. So far this round has been all Andy, as Bi has not got any real offense in. Bi goes for a takedown and lands it late in the round. She gains side control but moves to Andy’s guard. Andy wraps Bi’s head then hooks bother her arms. Andy’s defense from the bottom stops any offense from Bi and the round ends.
Jason Ellis def. Gabe Rivas via submission (key lock) in Round 3 at 4:59
Ellis lands crisps punches and kicks while Rivas finds his range. Ellis is throwing at high volume while Rivas is looking for that one knockout punch. Rivas lands clean and has Ellis going backwards. Ellis continues to circle as Rivas stalks him. Rivas lands a hard left hook and Ellis feels the power behind the punches. Despite being hit hard, Ellis still remains composed and ties Rivas up stopping any momentum. Rivas has Ellis rattled up against the cage as the bell sounds.
Ellis looks refreshed at the start of the round. Rivas misses with a few strikes and Ellis lands a takedown up against the cage. Ellis moves to side control and fights for wrist control. Rivas tries to reverse but Ellis remains heavy and smothers him. Ellis pins a wrist down and lands a few elbows before the round ends.
Both men embrace in a hug to start the round. Rivas takes control of the center of the cage and lands a few left hooks. Ellis’ face is busted open and red around the eye. Rivas is stalking Ellis and lands a straight left. A straight left drops Ellis but he quickly gets back to his feet and lands a takedown. Rivas scrambles to his feet and lands a few more punches. Ellis takes the fight back to the ground and peppers Rivas with punches and short elbows. Ellis gets the full mount and attempts a key lock. Ellis get proper leverage on the key lock and Rivas verbally submits with just one second left in the fight.
Roosevelt Roberts def. Andrew Kauppila via TKO in Round 1 at 0:23
Roberts comes out swinging and catches Kauppila completely off guard. Roberts throws and flurry of punches and kicks. Kauppila tries to back away but Roberts connects with a punch that sends Kauppila to the fence. Roberts senses the finishes and lands a series of punches that crumbles Kauppila. Roberts follows up with punches and the referee stops the bout.
Humberto Bandenay Ramirez def. Salim Mukhidinov via submission (armbar) in Round 1 at 2:40
Salim lands a combination of kicks before landing a takedown. The two pepper each other with punches. Salim does a cartwheel to change positions and gets back into the guard of Humberto. As Salim throws down punches Humberto catches his right arm and locks in an armbar. Salim tries to escape but Humberto puts more pressure on the arm and Salim taps out.
Adel Altamimi def. Bobby Sanchez via submission (armbar) in Round 1 at 0:18
Sanchez catches a leg kick by Altamimi and takes him to the ground. Sanchez appears to have a guillotine choke but Altamimi quickly escapes and sinks in an armbar. Sanchez quickly taps and appears to have hurt his elbow from the deep armbar.
Alex Thompson def. Dejon Daniels via unanimous decision
Thompson pushes forward and presses Daniels to the cage. Daniels pushes off and lands a hard kick to the body of Thompson. Thompson presses Daniels to the cage again. The two dirty box and jockey for position. They break apart and trade shots. Thompson is chasing Daniels down. Both men box for a little before Daniels throws in some kicks to mix it up. Daniels is looking comfortable and throwing more combinations. The two trade shots for
Thompson lands a heavy kick to the body of Daniels. Thompson follows it with a takedown and moves to side control. Thompson does not go for a submission but rather smothers Daniels. Daniels gets back to his feet but is taken back down. Thompson stays in side control but still is not searching for a submission. Thompson gets the full mount but is reversed by Daniels. The two get back to their feet and trade shots. Thompson looks a little tired as he throws a sloppy kick. Daniels lands a left hook but Thompson closes the distance and pushes him to the cage. While pressed against the cage Daniels eats a hard knee from Thompson. The bell sounds as the two are up against the cage.
Thompson lands another takedown but does little damage while in the guard of Daniels. The referee stands them up and the two trade hard punches. Thompson lands another takedown but has little offense while in side control. After a few moments the referee stand them up again. After a couple of exchanges Thompson lands yet another takedown. Daniels manages to hip escape but Thompson is still hovering over him and lands a few hard hammer fists before the bell sounds signaling the end of the fight.
Andrew Lazo def. George Pelayo via TKO
Mike Segura def. Demarcus Brown via submission
Amateur Bout Results:
Amateur Jr. Lightweight Championship: Anthony Jimenez def. Michael Reddeman via TKO in Round 1 at 2:11
Jimenez shoots for a takedown and gets it. He hammers Rdddeman with hammer fists. Reddeman attempts armbar but Jimenez slams his way out of it. Jimenez continues to land heavy shots. Reddeman has no answer for the ground and pound by Jimenez. Reddeman crawls his way to the fence but still has Jimenez all over him. Jimenez postures up and lays down punches. The referee step in and stops the bout.
Wade Rogers def. Robert Torres via submission (head and arm choke) in Round 1 at 0:49
The two heavyweights come out swinging. Rogers lands a few strong kicks and knees. Torres lands hard punches that send Rogers back against the cage. As Torres charges forward Rogers is able to take him down with a judo throw. Rogers gains side control and sinks in a head and arm choke. Torres has no answer for the submission and taps out.
Frederick Powell def. William McClendon via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1 at 0:46
McClendon catches a leg kick from Powell and tries for a takedown but Powell stops him. The two men break off and circle each other before Powell lands a few hard strikes. McClendon goes for a takedown but Powell wraps his legs around him and brings him down to the canvas with a deep guillotine choke. After a few seconds McClendon is forced to tap.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency has cleared Invicta FC featherweight champion and part-time UFC fighter Cris “Cyborg” Justino of a violation steaming from a positive drug test she submitted back in December of 2016.
The USADA released the following statement on their official website about Cyborg’s clearance:
“USADA announced today that UFC athlete Cristiane Justino, of Curitiba, Brazil, has been granted a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and will therefore not face an anti-doping policy violation after testing positive for a prohibited substance in December of 2016. With this announcement, USADA is providing a public notice of the case’s resolution following the announcement of the potential anti-doping violation by the UFC on December 22, 2016.”
During the out of competition drug test Cyborg tested positive for the banned substance “Spironolactone” which according to the USADA falls under the “Diuretics and Masking Agents” category.
Cyborg was quick to address the violation and stated that the was prescribed the drug by a doctor in order to prevent ovarian cysts after a very dramatic weight cut for her UFC Fight Night bout against Lina Lansberg. The bout was contested at 140-pounds because at the time there was not an official featherweight division in the organization.
Cyborg’s immediate corporation with the USADA and proper paperwork seemed to help her case to reverse the suspension.
“Upon notice of her positive test, Justino immediately identified a medication prescribed by her physician for the treatment of a common endocrine disorder as the source of the prohibited substance detected in her sample. She also participated in multiple interviews with USADA’s investigative team and consented to USADA interviewing her physician as well.”
Cyborg is now free to compete but there are still some provisions she must meet according to the USADA, “her provisional suspension has been lifted with immediate effect and her positive test will not result in an anti-doping policy violation. However, as a condition of the TUE approval, Justino will be required to continue to carefully document her medical care and must apply for a TUE renewal in advance of TUE expiry should she wish to maintain compliance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”
Since Cyborg’s last bout the UFC has created a women’s featherweight division. She can now compete in the organization at the weight class she has always fought at and hopefully her issues with dramatic weight cutting will be a thing of the past. Unfortunately she may have a hard time finding an opponent. The likely scenario would be a bout with current UFC featherweight champion Germaine De Randamie but De Randamie has expressed an interest in a rematch with Holly Holm and that she also needs hand surgery.
Former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has officially signed a deal to return to the UFC. The L.A. Times were the first to report the deal being finalized. Reports had surfaced early this week that GSP and the UFC had agreed to terms on a new deal but pen had not touched the paper just yet. All that has changed and now the longest welterweight champion in company history is set to return.
St. Pierre (25-2) last fought in 2013 when he defeated Johny Hendricks to retain his championship. After the victory GSP vacated his title and stated that he needed to step away from the sport for a while.
GSP has been known of his even keel temperament had been very vocal against the UFC prior to his departure about the lack of consistent drug testing of all its fighters. Since GSP’s hiatus the UFC tasked the USADA to help crack down on performance enhancing drug use and we all know the success they have had finding all of the violators.
Rumors of a GSP return have been making their way around the MMA community in recent months but for a short while it seemed as though his return would not be inside the UFC’s octagon. It was reported that negotiations between the UFC and GSP had reached an impasse and the former champion declared himself a free agent. While specifics were never released the UFC’s deal with Reebok seemed to be a big hurdle as GSP has been associated with Under Armour for many years. A UFC return looked even bleaker when GSP aligned himself the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), a union that was seeking better insurance, payouts, and more from the UFC. GSP had also been seen in photo ops with Bellator president Scott Coker in recent months.
While a return to the welterweight division seems only natural, UFC president Dana White gave many options as to who GSP could face upon his return, “It could be the winner between Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, or it could be Michael Bisping.”
GSP has flirted with the middleweight division in the past, especially when talks of a super fight between he and Anderson Silva were at a high back when both men ruled their respective divisions. Probably the most interesting thing that White stated was GSP’s desire to actually go down a weight class, “Georges has also talked about fighting at 155 pounds. He says he can make the weight.”A run at lightweight could only mean a super fight between GSP and the “Notorious” Conor McGregor. That might be interesting enough for McGregor to end his chase of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.
No date has been announced for GSP’s return but as stated by White there are many things that need to happen before the organization can decide which route will earn the most money for all parties involved.
Upstart MMA promotion Combate Americas returned for its second event of 2017 on Thursday night at the Burbank Convention Center in Burbank, California. The event took a huge blow after the proposed main event was called off when Kyra Batara failed to make the atomweight limit of 105-pounds at Wednesday’s official weigh-ins. Batara has been positioned as the company’s breakout star and not having her on one of the first major cards of the year definitely stung the organization but the show must go on. A lightweight bout between Danny Ramirez and Erick Gonzalez was put in the main event spot and delivered a fight worthy of the main event spot.
Combate Americas 11 Main Card Results:
Lightweight Bout- Danny Ramirez def. Erick Gonzalez via unanimous decision
Two fighters out of Los Angeles served as the night’s headlining attraction. The fight immediately goes to the ground and both men scramble to get back to their feet. The crowd is into this fight and you can tell both fighters are feeding off the energy in the room to start this bout. As the first round progresses it is Ramirez’ grappling that is getting the best of Gonzales. Ramirez is able to control the movement of Gonzales and whenever Gonzales tries to get back to his feet Ramirez brings him back down to the canvas.
Ramirez starts to show more dominance with his grappling in the second round. Gonzales manages to get back to his feet and the fight remains there for the remainder of the round. Gonzales lands some significant strikes as Ramirez looks to be a little drained.
The final round saw Ramirez control the beginning of the round with is takedowns but Gonzales manages to escape and get to his feet. Gonzales then begins to stalk down a clearly tired Ramirez. Gonzales continues to put the pressure and land strikes on Ramirez. Gonzales lands a short elbow that drops Ramirez for a second. Ramirez regains himself and goes for another takedown. The action continues as both me feed off the excitement of the crowd. Ramirez lands one final takedown before the bell sounds ending the fight.
Lightweight Bout- Jose Estrada def. George Hernandez via submission in Round 1 at 2:09
Estrada takes the center of the cage and pushes Hernandez to the fence. Hernandez pushes back and goes in for the clinch and gets Estrada up against the cage. Estrada regains control and takes Hernandez down to the ground. Estrada survives a kimura attempt and gains side control. He positions himself to get the back of Hernandez and is successful. He sinks in the rear naked choke and forces Hernandez to tap out in the very first round.
Featherweight Bout- Andres Quintana def. Erick Sanchez via unanimous decision
Sanchez presses the pace and forces Quintana up against the fence. The two men separate and exchange blows. Both men are content with standing and trading shots. Quintana switches levels but Sanchez is able to land a few body shots. The two again meet in the middle of the cage and exchange. Neither fighter is landing the power shot but Quintana is moving more to avoid the big strike. The round ends with a flurry of strikes from both men. Quintana lands a knee before the bell.
The fight continues the same pace of both men trading shots. Quintana uses head movement and bounces in and of Sanchez’ range. Quintana level switching is working as Sanchez has more than a few swing and misses. Sanchez charges in and lands a few punches and back Quintana to the cage. The two fighters again trade hard shots in the middle of the cage in the final seconds of the round. Sanchez pushes Quintana against the cage as the bell sounds ending the second round.
As the third round begins both men still look fresh. Sanchez takes control of the center of the cage but Quintana is able to dodge the big blows. Quintana continues his movement and is able to make Sanchez miss the big strikes but Sanchez lands one and sends Quintana to the cage. Sanchez lands a big overhand right and follows it up with more strikes before the round ends.
Preliminary Card Results:
Flyweight Bout: Albert Tapia def. Benji Gomez via split decision
Back and forth action to start the round. Tapia is the aggressor and Gomez looks for the right counter. Tapia misses with a head kick. Gomez lands a few jabs. Both fighters have yet to find their range as the midpoint of the round comes and goes.
Tapia and Gomez both have a lot of movement and neither men are able to connect with anything really impactful. Tapia is clearly the more aggressive fighter but is having a hard time landing anything at all. Tapia goes in for the takedown and gets it with ease. Gomez traps Tapia’s head but runs out of time to put Tapia in any real danger.
Gomez starts the third more aggressively than the previous two rounds. He chases Tapia all over the cage but cannot catch up to him. Tapia lands a single leg takedown but Gomez is quick to get back up. Tapia goes in for another takedown but Gomez stuff it. Tapia goes for it again and this time it lands. He takes Gomez’ back and looks for the rear naked choke. Gomez uses the cage to get back to his feet but Tapia is hanging on him the entire time. Gomez escapes and chases down Tapia and scores a takedown of his own before the final bell.
Flyweight Bout- Heinrich Wassmer def. Heber Castillo via submission in Round 1 at 4:57
Fast paced action kicks off the first round with Castillo landing a few leg kicks. Wassmer misses a spinning back kick and Castillo takes control on the ground. Castillo almost gets Wassmer caught in a twister but lets it go in favor of the full mount. Wassmer is able to turn it around and get Castillo’s back and goes for a rear naked choke. Castillo gives up his back as Wassmer sinks his hooks and starts to throw punches to the side of Castillo’s head. Wassmer works his way into an armbar right as the signal of for the final 10-seconds of the round goes off. Castillo cannot hold on and taps with only second left in the round.
Catchweight at 108lbs. – Alyssa Garcia def. Kaiyana Rain via split decision
Garcia takes Rain to the mat and is in her guard a few moments into the fight. Rain goes for a heel hook but Garcia turns out of it and gains side control. Garcia moves to the full mount and lands small punches and elbows for the remainder of the round.
The two fighters exchange strikes to start the second round. Garcia lands a nice knee to Rain’s midsection. The second round has a much different tone from the first as both women seem comfortable standing and exchanging blows. Rain maintains control of the center of the cage while Garcia circles looking for the right openings. After a brief tie up in the cage both women separate and trade more shots in the center of the cage. Garcia has more movement than Rain but did not land any real damaging shots.
Garcia shows a little more aggression as the third round opens up. She and Rain continue to exchange until Garcia decides to take it to mat. Garcia scores the easy takedown and maintains control as Rain tries to lock her leg. The referee decides to stand the fighters up and Rain immediately goes on the offense throwing wild punches in hopes of landing. The bell sounds before any real damage is done.
Lightweight Bout – Rudy Morales def. Izic Fernandez via unanimous decision
Fernandez quickly goes for the takedown but is unsuccessful and can only push Morales to the fence. After a few moments the two separate and trades punches. Fernandez pushes Morales back up against the fence where the two exchange knees. One of Morales’ knees hits below the belt and time is called by the referee. After a long break the action resumes with Morales pressing but the bell sounds before any real damage can be done.
The second round starts with Morales landing some hard shots to the face of Fernandez. Morales stalks down Fernandez and lands a few more hard shots. Fernandez circles on the outside trying to avoid any significant strikes. Morales continues to land hard strikes but cannot follow them up with any sort of combination.
Morales starts the third round by landing a few jabs and a front kick. Morales continues to stalk Fernandez and lands a nice head kick that sends him backing. Morales lands a few more jabs but no real damage is down. Both men stand in the middle of the cage but are tentative to put together any combinations. Fernandez lands a kick that catches Morales in the groin and the fight is stopped once again. The fight resumes but it is more of the same with Morales stalking Fernandez but not putting together any combinations.
Lightweight Bout- Javier Garcia def. Donte Stubbs via submission in Round 3 at 0:58
The two local Southern California fighters start off the show with a feeling out process. After the two trade leg kicks Garcia goes in for the takedown but Stubbs is able to stuff it. Garcia gets it to the ground and the two jockey for position. Garcia gets the full mount but lands a 12 to 6 elbow and is warned by the referee. The fight is stopped and the two fighters are brought back to their feet. It quickly goes back down to the ground where the two agains trade positions. Garcia end the round with a rear naked choke but does not have enough time to sink it in.
The second round begins with Stubbs missing a wild right hand. Garcia once again goes for the takedown and after a few failed shake off attempts he gets Stubbs down. Garcia works for the rear naked choke but switches to the full mount. Stubbs is able to switch Garcia over and gain the full mount but does not land any real significant strikes. Garcia is able to escape and regain control and lands in Stubb’s guard. Garcia throws punches and gets caught in an armbar attempt by Stubbs. He is able to escape and ends the round on top of Stubbs.
The third round starts almost identical to the second. Stubbs misses with a wild right but recovers and takes Garcia down to the mat but the two end up in a north south position. Garcia quickly gets the back of Stubbs and sinks in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
Rumors of a Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fight reached a high point on Tuesday but at the end of the day did we move any closer to the fight actually taking place?
Combat sports fans had their collective hearts broken on Valentine’s Day as rumors of the Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather boxing match swelled up like a balloon only to have it pop by the end of the day. It all started with a report by “The Irish Sun” that stated the two finally reached a “multi-million dollar deal” but was not formally signed because of a “third party hold-up”. Media outlets everywhere picked up the story and social media was a buzz as news started to spread.
It turns out the news was too good to be true. Floyd Mayweather took it upon himself to shoot down all rumors about him fighting not only Conor McGregor but anyone in general.
Mayweather did not specifically mention McGregor by name and stated that he is “happily retired”. This could be seen as Mayweather taking a shot a McGregor by not mentioning him by name in his announcement. He did throw in that little nugget of hope to fight fans by writing that “if any changes come about, I will be the first to let the world know!” Maybe Mayweather did not take kindly to the fact that someone in McGregor’s camp may have spilled the beans a little earlier than “The Money Team” may have liked.
Not to be outdone, McGregor took to his Instagram account to offer a counter of sorts to Mayweather’s post about denying any fight deal taking place. McGregor’s post sees the Irishman sitting on a white throne with the caption, “I am in Las Vegas. Floyd has retired on my arrival.”
The image itself is very striking with McGregor sitting on a throne as if he is declaring himself the king of combat sports. The caption also suggests that Mayweather is scared of McGregor as it is implying that his mere presence in Las Vegas has kept the undefeated boxing star in retirement.
It did not take long for McGregor’s post to circulate and get Mayweather’s attention. Mayweather in turn had a more direct response than his previous post.
Mayweather not only called out McGregor but the UFC as well. UFC president Dana White has been vocal that the boxing match between McGregor and Mayweather cannot happen without the company’s blessing or involvement. McGregor has stated in the past that he can put this fight together without the UFC’s involvement but has acknowledged that it will be easier if they were somehow involved.
That is where we stand as of this moment and after all the reports and posts on social media it seems like we have not moved any closer to the super-fight taking place.
The UFC’s women’s featherweight division is not off to a great start and it may take a while for it to gain any real traction.
It was a mediocre main event to a mediocre fight card. UFC 208 under delivered in many ways on Saturday night and unfortunately for the company it is only the tip of the iceberg as it tries to figure out where to go from here with its newest division.
It may not have been the way the UFC dreamed up the crowning of the first ever women’s featherweight champion but neither was the match up that took place. In a perfect world the UFC would have loved to have Cris “Cyborg” Justino in the main event against Holly Holm. However the UFC and Cyborg could not come to an agreement on a date for the fight. Reports stated that Cyborg was unhappy with the short notice and needed proper time to cut weight to reach 145-pounds. Reports also stated that the UFC countered with a second date, presumably UFC 208, but she again rejected the date citing lack of time for a proper weight cut. Fed up the UFC went ahead and booked Germaine De Randamie in her place and what they received was a controversial ending to what was essentially their plan B.
It should be noted that Cyborg was flagged for a potential violation by the USADA shortly after all this went down and is currently in middle of an investigation.
De Randamie went on to defeat Holly Holm via a unanimous decision but the win was met with controversy as De Randamie struck Holm after the bell not once but on two separate occasions. Holm expressed her dissatisfaction with De Randamie at the post fight press conference, “She hit hard shots after the bell; those are the hardest shots I felt the whole entire fight.” Strikes after the bell have occurred in the sport many times but they are often thought of as accidental. Crowd noise and fighters being so focused and in the moment are often attributed to the accidental strikes after the bell. Holm does not buy any of that when it came to De Randamie’s shots, “It wasn’t like the last punch of a combination after the bell rang. It was intentional and it was after the bell. What can you do?”
Many felt what should have been done was a point deduction or at the very least a warning for De Randamie but the referee Todd Anderson did no such thing, “A lot of times, the first one they give a warning, that’s kind of normal. I wouldn’t expect them to take a point after the first one, even though it was intentional. The second time, at that point you think they’d do something,” Holm said.
With the point deduction the fight could have been close enough to where Holm may have received the decision win or the fight could have been declared a draw. Instead the UFC has an inaugural champion with a negative cloud over her head.
The women’s featherweight division got off on the wrong foot by not having Cyborg, who is widely considered the best female featherweight on the planet, not involved in the fight. The UFC cannot be entirely blamed for not working out an agreement with Cyborg. She seemed unwilling to work with the UFC on a date and was flagged by the USADA for a potential violation. It seems she did just as much as the UFC to not be in this bout. The case can also be made as to why the UFC was in such a rush to create this division and crown a champion after years of stating that they had no intention or interest of creating a featherweight division.
This is almost a worst case scenario for the UFC. The division now has a champion who as unknown prior to the event and she is now labeled as a dirty fighter who barely escaped with the win. To make matters worse many fans believe that Holm and De Randamie do not have a real chance of beating Cybrog in a fight. To add fuel to that fire when De Randamie was asked about a potential fight with Cyborg she stated that she is in need of hand surgery. One can draw their own conclusion to that answer. Despite saying she needs hand surgery; De Randamie has offered a rematch to Holm citing the strikes after the bell and the backlash she has gotten for it. She posted the offer on her Facebook page which was then shared by her management on Instagram.
Another name added to the mix is current Invicta FC interim featherweight champion Megan Anderson. Anderson was called out on Twitter by Cyborg shortly after De Randamie stated she needed hand surgery.
Anderson was quick to shoot down a fight with Cyborg stating in an ESPN article that, “I want to fight Cris, but right now in my career, I’m not going to get the type of money she’s getting.” That part is true as a fight between the two inside the octagon would be very one-sided in terms of payout but Anderson also mentioned that the paychecks may not be the only thing that is one sided, “I’m not running from her, but yes, I know that I need to work on my skills if I’m going to fight the best pound-for-pound female in the world.”
Nobody can fault Anderson for wanting extra time to prepare for Cyborg. This is a woman who has not lost an MMA bout since 2005 and is on an 11-fight streak in where she has won by either KO or TKO. Cyborg is not even officially in the division and already she is having a hard time finding an opponent.
Cyborg is reportedly near to being cleared for her USADA violation and may compete sooner rather than later. The only set back is that she may not have anyone to fight. If Randamie goes ahead with her hand surgery then Cyborg will have to wait it out or take a fight in the meantime. As of right now the only other 145-pound fighter on the UFC’s roster is Holm. Holm is now 0-3 since defeating Ronda Rousey and stepping inside the octagon with Cyborg may not be the best option at the moment but she did state that she would do whatever the UFC asks, “I’m sitting in a spot where my last three fights I’m 0-3, so I’m going to take whatever they give me.”
The UFC’s newest division is definitely not off to a hot start but hopefully they can bring an influx of fighters in from outside organizations and highlight their personalities so that the fans can have more than just Cyborg to watch. All we can do know is wait to see what the next move will be. How long will De Randamie be out if she gets her hand repaired? Will Holm get a rematch? How soon can Cyborg get over her USADA hurdle and fight? Only time will tell and we have to be patient. If only the UFC would have been a little more patient in announcing this division then they could have avoided a lot of this drama.