Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) created a new weight class on Saturday night (Feb. 11, 2017), making the women’s featherweight division a permanent part of its mixed martial arts (MMA) roster.
Kicking things off at 145 pounds were former bantamweights Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie, who went to war in the UFC 208 pay-per-view (PPV) main event inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
For complete UFC 208 results and play-by-play click here.
Leaving “The Empire State” on Sunday morning — featherweight title in tow — is “The Iron Lady,” who captured the crown with five-round unanimous decision win over “The Preacher’s Daughter.”
Thanks to a couple of blatant fouls? Maybe, maybe not.
The division was created to accommodate former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cristiane Justino, who currently holds the 145-pound title for Invicta FC, after the Brazilian passed a series of tests at a catchweight of 140 pounds.
“Cyborg” made the weight, moved the tickets, and crushed the competition.
But when UFC President Dana White finally relented, Justino shocked the combat sports world by turning down the very division she spent the past five years campaigning for.
Then came a run in with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Justino insists she has the necessary paperwork to exonerate her of any wrongdoing, and she’ll need it to escape a one-year suspension. That means De Randamie won’t be able to defend her title until that case is resolved.
Unless another bantamweight decides to jump up in weight.
That’s the price that must be paid when a weight class is created with only three fighters to populate it. In order to be included in the weekly rankings update, there must be 15 combatants to fill the open slots.
Good luck with that.
The promotion faced a similar situation with the creation of the strawweight division, but managed to assemble a serviceable line up by way of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20, which also helped market the 155-pound imports.
With that in mind, UFC has some work to do.
The best case scenario? “Cyborg” makes peace with USADA and gets cleared to return by this summer. Not that I have anything against De Randamie, but it will be easy for UFC to skate by with an anemic roster if Justino is laying waste to puffed up bantamweights.
Think of why Tyson was so popular in the eighties and you get the idea.
Until then, we have a queen but no queendom, so we’re essentially in a holding pattern for the next several weeks (or more, as De Randamie injured her hand). Hopefully we can avoid a similar situation if White and Co. ever pull the trigger on this.
For much more on UFC 208, including results, recaps, highlight videos and more, head over to our “Holm vs. De Randamie” live story stream here.
Source:: mma mania