February 14, 2017

UFC 208: Holly Holm Might Not Have Enough Time To Make the Changes She Needs To Regain Gold

By Raphael Garcia

At UFC 208 Holly Holm learned a tough lesson inside the Octagon, and after five rounds against Germaine de Randamie something became very clear: Holm hasn’t fully grown as a mixed martial artist. After nearly six years in the professional ranks, she still presented the same questions, and unfortunately for her, de Randamie gave strong answers. At 35 years old, Holm is at an age where most fighters are set in their ways, and where change becomes an uphill climb.

For twenty-five minutes fight fans witnessed two technical fighters clash in the cage, but there were major differences between the two. De Randamie stayed patient, often countering Holm’s advancing 1-2 combination with a thudding shot of her own. When Holm attempted to change the game and get the fight to the ground, de Randamie thwarted her nine takedown attempts. UFC Commentator Joe Rogan pointed out that de Randamie was timing Holm based on her breathing cadence, which has become the calling card to the start of her striking combinations. While Holm did have her moments during the fight, staggering de Randamie at times, she didn’t do a lot to show she’s become a more complete MMA competitor.

In fact, de Randamie’s ability to quickly counter Holm looked a lot like the techniques Valentina Shevchenko used to defeat her back at UFC on Fox 20. When forced to be the aggressor against women with a vast amount of striking expertise, Holm has been pushed into a new aspect of fighting where she hasn’t had success. The Holm that defeated Ronda Rousey was able to do so because of the glaring advantage of Rousey being an overly aggressive fighter without the skill set to corner Holm. De Randamie and Shevchenko didn’t have that problem, and the outcomes showed that, with two losses by the former UFC Bantamweight Champion.

What’s next for Holm? Leading up to Saturday’s main event it was clear that the two previous defeats weighed heavily on Holm; it’s no doubt that a third will do the same. She’s working with one of the best teams in MMA, so it will be interesting to see how Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn can shift Holm’s style towards more of a complete fighter. Heading into this fight, Holm attempted only two takedowns during her UFC tenure. To see that increase by nine shows that she and her coaches believed getting the fight to the ground would help secure the victory. She couldn’t get the job done, and as a result, she suffered her third straight defeat.

As more competitors pay close attention to the tactics used to defeat Holly Holm, she’s going to have to make adjustments to the way she fights. However, she’s not a young competitor with a lot of time to add to her striking game. Unfortunately, those additions are what are needed if she’s going to find a way back to the top before her career is over. “The Preacher’s Daughter” might have to pray for a miracle.

UFC 208: Holm vs. de Randamie took place February 11, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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