When pressed following her disappointing loss to Germaine de Randamie in the UFC 208 main event, Holly Holm had to admit that she’d lost a little bit of respect for the Dutch muay Thai specialist.
“I guess I’d say so,” Holm said at the post-fight press conference. “It’s still a fight. I know she’s not in there to try to be my friend, either. Next time, I’ll just be ready to throw back.”
Such sentiments tend to occur when one’s opponent keeps throwing punches after the bell, particularly in the case of de Randamie, who was tardy throwing strikes following both the second and third round of the featherweight championship bout. The late blow after the second round was particularly significant, as it briefly wobbled Holm as she walked back to her corner.
Following the second instance, referee Todd Anderson issued a warning to de Randamie when many thought a point should have been deducted. The official then appeared to overcompensate for his earlier gaffes in the final stanza, stepping in between Holm and de Randamie before the round had even expired.
“A lot of times with the first one they give a warning. I wouldn’t expect them to take a point after the first one, even though it was intentional,” Holm said. “I’m just one of those people that feels like I shouldn’t have let her done it anyway. Those are some of her best shots of the whole night after the bell. I don’t know if the judges saw that as points for her but if they did, what can you do?”
After a rough start, Holm began to find her footing late in the fight, knocking de Randamie off balance with a head kick late in the third stanza and bringing her adversary to a knee with a straight left in the fifth. In between, she often tried to neutralize de Randamie with clinch work and takedown attempts. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough, leaving Holm to regret not doing more when she did have her Dutch opponent reeling.
“I felt like she started a little strong, and I felt like I had the better of the last three rounds,” Holm said. “I know what my capabilities are, and I didn’t do as much damage as I wanted to do when I had her on the cage. The fight could have gone either way. I thought I won three rounds, but I also had her rocked twice and didn’t capitalize.”
De Randamie was transported to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons after the fight, so she wasn’t able to address the late punches at the post-fight presser. However, she did defend herself in an interview shortly after the final verdict was announced.
“It was an accident to hit her after the bell, it was never intentional,” de Randamie said. “It was just the heat of the moment. I am not that kind of fighter. Holly is a tremendous champion and I truly respect her, but I am a brawler and I love to fight.”
According to Holm, de Randamie landed her best offense between rounds.
“She hit hard shots after the bell. Those were the hardest shots I felt in the whole entire fight,” the Jackson-Wink MMA product admitted.
The fight was close enough that many observers — including 13 of the 22 media members tracked by MMADecisions.com — thought Holm deserved the final nod. That validation has “The Preacher’s Daughter” hoping for quick return date with newly-crowned featherweight queen.
“I think it warrants a rematch,” Holm said. “When you have more than half the people saying the fight should’ve gone the other way, that warrants a rematch. That would be awesome.”