Holly Holm may have become the first woman in nearly a decade to go the distance with Cris Cyborg, but it wasn’t enough. Cyborg scored the unanimous decision over Holm to retain the UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship.
Holm got off to a fine start in the opening round, taking down Cyborg after a head kick attempt and landing a kick of her own. Cyborg then took a clinch to the cage, and this is where Cyborg took control. Cyborg nailed several counter-punches and crosses, though Holm landed some decent shots of her own. Through one round, Cyborg out-landed Holm in punches 24-9.
Cyborg got the edge early on in round two, making her challenger eat a hard kick to the body. But Holm fought back hard, connecting with a punch and then pressing the champion up against the cage. Holm continued the process until the end of the second. Cyborg got double underhooks in the clinch early in the third, and she connected with a big right hand as the two separated. Throughout the round, Cyborg attempted to land a kick to the head, and it seemed to get closer with each kick thrown. But the big moment in the third came right before the horn when Cyborg stunned Holm with a right hand and threw a flurry of punches before the end of the round.
Holm circled to her right throughout the fourth, but every time she did so, she was cut off by a punch or hard kick from the defending champ. Holm could land nothing too clean, while Cyborg was landing everything hard at will. And while Holm got in some sort of blitz late in the final round, Cyborg was unfazed. It was a great effort by Holm, but Cyborg is just another step ahead.
The judges scored the bout 49-46, 48-47, 48-47.
In the co-main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov scored one of the most lopsided victories in UFC history, with two judges giving him a 30-25 score, while one gave him 30-24. Former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza defeated Cynthia Calvillo, giving Calvillo the first loss in her young MMA career. Former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit’s return to the Octagon was unsuccessful, as he lost a decision to Neil Magny.
Main Card (10 p.m. ET, PPV)
UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: (c.) Cris Cyborg def. Holly Holm via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Lightweight: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Edson Barboza via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24)
Lightweight: Dan Hooker def. Marc Diakiese via submission (guillotine choke) (Rd. 3, 0:42)
Women’s Strawweight: Carla Esparza def. Cynthia Calvillo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Welterweight: Neil Magny def. Carlos Condit via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)
Light Heavyweight: Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Khalil Rountree via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Featherweight: Myles Jury def. Rick Glenn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Middleweight: Marvin Vettori vs. Omari Akhmedov goes to a majority draw (28-28, 29-28, 28-28)
Flyweight: Matheus Nicolau def. Louis Smolka via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Preliminary Card (7:30 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Pass)
Bantamweight: Tim Elliott def. Mark De La Rosa via submission (anaconda choke) (Rd. 2, 1:41)