When UFC president Dana White was asked about his thoughts on UFC 208, he said to Shaun Al-Shatti of MMAfighting.com, “Not one of our better events.”
In what was yet another historic night for the organization, controversy surrounded and still
surrounds the main and co-main event. From questionable scorecards to points not being taken away for late hits, there were a lot of factors that had fans thinking. In the co-main event, Anderson Silva won an unforeseen unanimous decision over his opponent, Albuquerque-trained Derek Brunson. Judge Douglas Crosby scored it 29-28, Eric Colon had it 30-27, and Derek Cleary also had it 29-28, all for the supposed greatest fighter of all time, Silva.
According to UFC.com’s stat tracker, Brunson threw more strikes and had a better completion percentage on his strikes, as well as more time in control when the fighters clinched, which is one of the criteria MMA judges look at when scoring a fight. Dana White was shocked by the result.
“I had Brunson winning,” he said when speaking with the panel on FS1’s post-fight show. “I actually had the fight one to one going into the third round, and I gave the third round to Brunson.” If the scorecards were what White predicted, it would have been a 29-28 win for Brunson, but that was obviously not the result of that fight.
One thing to keep in mind is that the UFC does not appoint or create the judges or referees. The athletic commission of the state that is hosting the event appoints them. This is something out of the UFC’s control.
Brunson had his disagreement with the way the fight was judged, and he expressed that on his Facebook page after the event. “Wow unreal I put my heart & soul out there on 3 weeks notice only to get it taken from me,” he said. “I just outclassed the greatest of all time.”
Now moving to the main event which would crown the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion. It had seemed to start out as an average fight in the first and second round. Then, as the second round wound down and the horn sounded to end the round, referee Todd Anderson stepped in to stop it officially, but not before Germaine De Randamie threw a vicious elbow after the bell that wobbled Holly Holm.
Gasps from the 15,628 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY followed, along with the coaching corner of Holm yelling at the referee for not stepping in quick enough. De Randamie was warned, and if it happened a second time, a point would be taken on the judge’s scorecard.
The third round was more of a striking showcase for De Randamie, who had presumably been more aggressive than Holm, who continued to pressure the clinch and takedown attempts, away from her specialty of boxing. But yet again, as the clock wound down and the end of the round came, late punches came flurrying in from De Randamie. This got the crowd and corner of Holm going once again, and it was almost certain that the referee was going to take a point.
But it did not happen.
Fourth and fifth rounds ensued, and De Randamie cemented her spot in UFC history winning a 48-47 unanimous decision on all three judge’s scorecards. The crowd immediately drowned De Randamie in boos as she conducted her post-fight Octagon interview with Joe Rogan. “Brooklyn, it’s been an honor,” she said, which caused even more of an uproar of boos from the crowd.
Fast forward to Tuesday the 14th, three days out from the event. Reigning Invicta FC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg was looking to be the next person to fight for the UFC featherweight belt. But now champion De Randamie will need some time off due to an injury to her hamstring, which she announced during her post-fight interview. So Cyborg instead decided to call out interim Invicta champion Megan Anderson to fight, so that they could unify the Invicta FC belts.
De Randamie had the chance to take to Facebook and say that she meant no harm with her late punches and even offered Holm an immediate rematch. “I have always trained to fight to the end or until the referee steps in. Never did I punch around or over the referee to deliver a cheap shot on Holly,” she said. “…I think I owe it to Holly and the fans to do this fight again to make sure that the winner of this historic belt is crystal clear. Holly, let’s do this again. Much respect…”
This is Holm’s third straight loss since her stunning knockout of Ronda Rousey in November of 2015 which scored her the women’s bantamweight championship. As for De Randamie, this is her third straight win in the UFC since her loss to current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes back in 2013.