The Ultimate Fighting Championship capped off a busy 2017 on Saturday night with UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In the main event, Cris Cyborg made the first defense of her UFC women’s featherweight title against former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.
Cyborg (18-1, 1 NC) entered the bout without a loss since her professional debut in 2005. It was a long journey to UFC gold, so she was hoping to cap off her first year as a UFC champion with an emphatic statement.
Holm (11-3), meanwhile, was looking to add to her collection of world championships which includes boxing titles in three weight classes and two kickboxing titles to go with her UFC 135-pound belt. With a win over Cyborg, Holm would not only be one of the most accomplished women’s mixed martial artists ever, but arguably the best female fighter in combat sports history.
Cyborg immediately took the center of the Octagon as we’ve come to expect, but Holm remained patient on the outside and was looking to counter. After Cyborg whiffed in the middle of the cage, Holm grabbed a hold of Cyborg and held her against the cage.Cyborg circled away and the action resumed in the center of the cage. Cyborg cracked Holm with a heavy right hand and Holm began circling away. Holm was jumping in and out of range with flurries, but Cyborg was showing some rare composure and patience. Holm once again tied Cyborg up and held her against the cage to slow any momentum and catch her breath.
Holm was showing less head movement in the second round, but continued to remain on the outside waiting for Cyborg to lunge in. The champ was busted up and bleeding from the nose. After both women landed their shots, Holm again found her home in the clinch against the cage.
In the third round, there was visible damage on Holm’s face, with a swollen eye and nose. However, both women were staying true to their game plans and waiting for their opponent to make the first mistake. Holm began taking a more defensive approach as the round went on, while Cyborg was heating up. Cyborg rocked Holm at the end of Round 3 and finished with a huge flurry at the bell.
Cyborg was in her groove entering Round 4, landing her right hand with ease as Holm continued to circle towards her power. Despite being battered, Holm continued to move at a high pace and looked for the clinch. Holm was able to make it to Round 5, officially making the UFC 219 main event the longest fight of Cyborg’s career.
Holm likely needed a finish entering the final round. Holm was stringing together her combinations in Round 5 looking for a momentum-changing strike, but Cyborg’s composure allowed her to see everything that was coming as she stalked her opponent around the cage. Holm landed some big shots in the closing minute of the fight before clinching and running out the clock to the final bell.
When it was all said and done, Cyborg did enough to retain her title despite the toughest test of her career.
The full results from UFC 219 can be seen below:
Cris Cyborg def. Holly Holm via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Edson Barboza via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24)
Dan Hooker def. Marc Diakiese via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 0:42
Carla Esparza def. Cynthia Calvillo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Neil Magny def. Carlos Condit via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Khalil Rountree via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Myles Jury def. Rick Glenn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Omari Akhmedov vs. Marvin Vettori declared majority draw (28-28, 29-28 Vettori, 28-28)
Matheus Nicolau def. Louis Smolka via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Tim Elliott def. Mark Delarosa via submission (anaconda choke) – Round 2, 1:41